Public Hearing Before               Glenn A. Walsh

Pittsburgh City Council:              P.O. Box 1041

City Designated Historic        Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania 15230-1041 U.S.A.

   Structure Status For           Telephone: 412-561-7876

Andrew Carnegie-Built          Electronic Mail: < >

Mt. Washington Branch Library Internet Web Site: < >

                                                             2004 June 30


Good afternoon. I am Glenn A. Walsh of 633 Royce Avenue, Mount Lebanon. Today, I am representing no formal organization.


From 1995-2000, I served as a Life Trustee, on the Board of Trustees, of one of Andrew Carnegie’s original libraries: the Andrew Carnegie Free Library and Music Hall in Carnegie, Pennsylvania, which opened in 1901. I served as the Library’s Treasurer from 1995-1996. I was the Consulting Editor for the April, 1999 issue of Cobblestone, a national history magazine for children; the theme of this issue was the life and philanthropies of Andrew Carnegie. And, I maintain an educational web site, on the Internet, on the History of Andrew Carnegie and Carnegie Libraries: < >.


The Mt. Washington Branch Library, a well-known and loved landmark in the Mt. Washington neighborhood, is unique because it is the only library branch in which building construction received financial contributions from the neighborhood, in addition to the Andrew Carnegie library grant. In 1900, the Mt. Washington neighborhood made the decision that this library is so important, it should sit on a prominent site on Grandview Avenue, overlooking the City of Pittsburgh. As they also did more than 60 years later, when the neighborhood raised money to save The Duquesne Incline, in 1900 the neighborhood raised the money needed to secure the prominent Grandview Avenue location for their new library.


Unlike other cities, such as New York and Baltimore which each had four or five neighborhood library branches, Andrew Carnegie proposed a neighborhood branch library plan which would effectively serve the entire City of Pittsburgh! Most of these libraries have been focal points for their respective neighborhoods for more than a century! The eight original neighborhood library branch buildings, each a gift to each neighborhood from local steelmaker and philanthropist Andrew Carnegie, are a matter of neighborhood pride. And they are among the most distinguished buildings in each community; they are truly icons of the neighborhood.


Today, inner-city neighborhoods, such as Hazelwood, Homewood, Lawrenceville, Mt. Washington, and the West End, encounter many challenges to their financial viability and livability. Monumental buildings, such as the five libraries nominated for historic designation, serve as part of the foundation of each neighborhood, helping to counter the social forces which lead to neighborhood disintegration and deterioration. Indeed, as centers of culture, these libraries have assisted in bringing neighborhood residents together.


Providing protection, by designation as a City Designated Historic Structure through the Historic Review ordinance, of these very valuable neighborhood assets, the City of Pittsburgh would be affirming that these monumental buildings should continue their leading role in neighborhood revitalization.


I strongly recommend that Pittsburgh City Council approve Bill No. 284, conferring the status of City Designated Historic Structure on the Mt. Washington Branch of The Carnegie Library of Pittsburgh.


Thank you.