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Oil City Public Library (Carnegie Public Library)

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Carnegie Public Library
1902–1904, Charles Weber Bolton; 1958–1959, James E. Bryan; Holmes Crosby, project architect; 1978–1980, W. G. Eckles Company Architects. 2 Central Ave.
  • (Photograph by Matthew Aungst)

The women of Oil City wrote to Andrew Carnegie in 1899 requesting $25,000 to build a library for their town of 11,000 people. Carnegie increased the donation to $40,000 to reflect his belief that Oil City was one of the key components of the steel industry, and as such would continue to grow. Charles Weber Bolton (1855–1942) of Philadelphia designed an eclectic two-story, brick building with gray granite trim, a red tiled roof, and round-arched windows and entrances that blends Renaissance Revival and Beaux-Arts classicism, with a dash of Richardsonian Romanesque. Perhaps due to his familiarity with church design, Bolton added an apselike bay window arrangement on the south elevation.

The entrance probably was moved from the east end of the building to the center of the Central Avenue elevation in the 1950s, when an interior redesign took place and the name was changed from the Carnegie Public Library to the Oil City Library. A one-story modern Renaissance-style addition of 6,500 square feet designed by the W. G. Eckles Company Architects on the west elevation opened in 1980.

Writing Credits

Lu Donnelly et al.


What's Nearby


Lu Donnelly et al., "Oil City Public Library (Carnegie Public Library)", [Oil City, 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, 531-531.

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