News: Bring the Bell Back to Ballard celebration.
Last week marked the birthday of the Carnegie Free Library, which opened on June 24, 1904. This Market Street landmark,
built in the Classic Revival style, was funded by a grant from philanthropist
Andrew Carnegie, who also provided funds to build more than 2,500 other public
libraries across the country. His name was carved into the front of the building in recognition of his $15,000 gift to the City of Ballard. Spot this carving above the front doorway on your next walk or drive past the building.
After construction, local schools held book drives to fill the library with books, and the Ballard News announced, “It is hoped each visitor will bring a book to start the new library.” The new building featured a librarian’s room with an unusual round circulation desk, a smoking room for male patrons, a conversation room for the ladies, and a 500-seat auditorium.
After Seattle annexed the city of Ballard in 1907, the building became a branch of the Seattle Public Library. As the collection grew and conventions changed, both the smoking room and the conversation room became reading rooms.