When Syracuse's Central Library was formed in 1852, it consisted of "a large and
convenient bookcase" in the old City Hall building. As more books accumulated,
they were moved first to the high school on West Genesee Street, then to the
Putnam School which stood where the new library
would soon be built. The library was granted a charter in 1893 and a few years
later was renamed the Syracuse Public Library.
Andrew Carnegie gave $200,000 for construction of a new library, designed by
Syracuse architect James
Randall. The Beaux Arts structure was completed in 1905.
Carnegie did not attend the opening ceremonies and, in fact, accused the city of
"uselessly dissipating funds" because there was nothing left following
construction for books or furniture. This building remained the city's central
library until 1975 when the library moved to the Galleries on Warren Street.
Photographs by David Bridges