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Benjamin Franklin Jones Memorial Library

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1929, Brandon Smith for Bartholomew and Smith. 663 Franklin Ave.
  • Benjamin Franklin Jones Memorial Library (Lu Donnelly)
  • (Michelle Krone)

This library was a gift to the citizens of Aliquippa from Elisabeth M. Horne in honor of her late father, founder and a director of the Jones and Laughlin Steel Company for over fifty years. Benjamin Jones spent his boyhood in nearby New Brighton, and advanced from part ownership in a canal and transportation company to full-fledged steel baron. Designed by Brandon Smith while with the firm of Bartholomew and Smith of Pittsburgh, the library's sumptuous style emulates a Renaissance palazzo. A cast-bronze cornice relieves the austerity of the Indiana limestone facade. The central entrance is softened slightly by the recess of the flanking wings, with each showcasing four Ionic columns below a scrolled entablature; windows are recessed behind the columns, adding depth to the facade. Swags flanking the entrance are repeated on the door surrounds. Not to be outdone by the Carnegie Library in Pittsburgh ( AL41), which lists the names of male artists, authors, scientists, and poets along the cornice, Aliquippa's library lists subjects: Philosophy, Biology, Astronomy, Fiction, History, Science, and the Fine Arts on its cornice. Inside, the central librarian's desk oversees book stacks behind it and the two flanking reading rooms. The east room has a coffered ceiling and Kasota marble walls, and in the west room, children's scenes are depicted in stained glass windows by Henry Hunt of Pittsburgh. A walled garden southwest of the building retains the stone wall and ornament specified by Smith.

Writing Credits

Lu Donnelly et al.


What's Nearby


Lu Donnelly et al., "Benjamin Franklin Jones Memorial Library", [Aliquippa, Pennsylvania], SAH Archipedia, eds. Gabrielle Esperdy and Karen Kingsley, Charlottesville: UVaP, 2012—,

Print Source

Cover: Buildings of PA vol 1

Buildings of Pennsylvania: Pittsburgh and Western Pennsylvania, Lu Donnelly, H. David Brumble IV, and Franklin Toker. Charlottesville: University of Virginia Press, 2010, 161-161.

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