Google+ Georgia On My Mind: A Carnegie Wish

Thursday, June 26, 2008

A Carnegie Wish

Due to the philanthropic nature of the industrialist/Robber Baron, Andrew Carnegie (depending on your point of view), many of Georgia’s small towns and larger urban areas were the recipients of library grants in the latter years of the 1800s and the early part of the Twentieth Century. The city of Atlanta, at one time, could boast it had three Carnegie libraries. The main building was located at the corner of Forsyth and Carnegie Way. The grant was issued in 1898 with the building being finalized in 1900. It is pictured below:

The building was demolished in 1977 to be replaced with a newer and more modern facility. Fortunately part of the building lives on……It exists as a column structure at Peachtree and West Peachtree across from Suntrust Plaza. It is known as the Carnegie Arch.


Another Carnegie library found in Atlanta is located on Moreland Avenue and is in the Little Five Points district. Earlier this week I shared many pictures from an exploration of Little Five Points that I made the other day with my daughter.

The final location within Little Five Points that my daughter and I visited was the store called Wish. Wow, what a great use of space! Their website can be found here. I loved the clean surface of the plain plywood everywhere. The simple displays are refreshing. As you enter the store you see raised boxes on either side of a walkway that has a clear floor with clothing and accessories displayed underneath as seen in the picture below (snagged from the Wish website).
Dear Daughter bought one of their signature t-shirts with the Wish logo as well as the words Little Five Points, and as we made our purchase the staff members were talkative. They certainly didn’t seem to mind that they were placed in the position of having to converse with a 40-something lady who is anything but hip. In fact when one of the clerks, a 20-something, tatooed, tanned man missing most of his shirt found out I was a history teacher he admitted he was a history geek as well.

It was at this point the young man reminded me I was standing in a Carnegie library. Wow! Thank goodness the folks in Little Five Points didn’t let this gem of a building go the way of the wrecking ball. The people at Wish have done a fantastic job of preserving the building’s architecture while creating a funky space.

The name of the store also fits in with a Carnegie library since it was the wish of many communities that they would receive a Carnegie grant.

The lower level of Wish really blew me away. It is here where you can find almost many trendy yet hard-to-find footwear styles….many of them limited editions. While Dear Daughter ooed and ahhed over many different styles she had never seen before I was mesmerized by the d├ęcor.
Look at the wall above the shoes in this image (taken from the Wish site). Those are books….Carnegie library….books….get the picture? All the books in this area had plain black jackets with gold lettering on the spines which added to the interesting placement of each group of books on the shelves. So cool!


In another section of the lower level books are used again, however, they are turned with the spines facing inward. I thought it was very interesting way to cover a way....especially in an old library space. Though they probably didn't want us to take a picture I had had Dear Daughter snap the one below rather quickly.

As we left I had my daughter take some shots of the outside of the building. Earlier, when we crossed the road from The Junkman’s Daughter to return to our car I was so tired, but I’m so glad at Dear Daughter’s suggestion I ventured into Wish.
The image below shows the side of the building where the original cornerstone designates the site as a Carnegie library.

Over at History Is Elementary I’ve posted some more information regarding Carnegie libraries.

3 comments:

dot said...

It looks like you are having a great adventure! Thanks for showing me places I'll probably never get to visit in person.

Jenni said...

Very cool indeed.
Newnan has a Carnegie Library.

EHT said...

Dot, it was a great adventure. We are already planning the next one though.

Jenni, it's amazing how many Carnegie libraries ARE in Georgia. What's even more amazing is many are still being used in some form or fashion because they are works of art in and of themselves.

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