Carnegie West Library: Beauty Surrounds the Books

August 16th, 2012 Posted in Architecture, Art, Ohio City

We admit it. We are partial to libraries. Books. Architecture. History.

Add them all up and this is what you get:

Carnegie West Library




See what we mean? Meet the Carnegie West Library.



Opened in 1910, its classical style and triangular, park-like setting cause you to slow down as you drive by, wondering why you don’t visit regularly. The building at 1900 Fulton Road, the first library branch and also the largest branch building in the Cleveland Public Library system, was funded by a grant from philanthropist Andrew Carnegie.


Survey for the Carnegie West branch
Cleveland Public Library’s Digital Gallery


Designed by Edward Tilton (best known as designing the first phase of new buildings for the U.S. Immigration Station on Ellis Island) in the Beaux Arts style, it is made of brick, with with terracotta and limestone ornamentation, medallions, and floral motifs.


The beautiful exterior columns



The 25,000 square foot building was built with an auditorium in the basement that could seat 650 people. Its interior contains large windows and a skylight, all contributing to the building’s abundant natural light. Corinthian columns stand inside and, at the entrance, there is a plaster bas relief frieze depicting the “Triumphal Entry of Alexander the Great into Babylon” completed by Bertel Thorvaldsen in Copenhagen, Denmark, 1812.



After the threat of being abandoned and razed, through the efforts of Ervin Gaines and John D. Cimperman, it went on to acquire a designated landmark status and was remodeled in 1979.

Carnegie West Branch of the Cleveland Public Library
1900 Fulton Rd.
Cleveland, OH 44113

Phone: 216-623-6927


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