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Huntington Junior College of Business (Cabell County Public Library; Carnegie Library)

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Cabell County Public Library; Carnegie Library
1902–1903, Stewart and Alger. 1930s, Albert F. Tucker. 900 5th Ave. (northeast corner of 5th Ave. and 9th St.)
  • (West Virginia Collection within the Carol M. Highsmith Archive, Library of Congress, Prints and Photographs Division)

Three months after the Cabell County Courthouse was completed, this stone, Beaux-Artsinspired public building was begun a block and a half away. When it opened in 1903, an enthusiastic local press proclaimed it “the most outstanding edifice of which Huntington can boast.” Smaller than the courthouse, it takes advantage of its corner site with pedimented pavilions, complete with acroteria, cented on each of the two street facades. The frieze of the encircling entablature is carved with the names of literary giants and classical figures; Socrates takes the place of honor above the entrance. Huntington architect Albert F. Tucker designed interior renovations in the 1930s, but the original double stairway, of oak, survives.

Like numerous other libraries across the country, the building was the gift of Andrew Carnegie, who provided $35,000 for its construction. The inscription on the cornerstone expresses a somewhat convoluted wish: “That our sons and daughters may be as cornerstones polished after the similitude of a palace.” In 1980 the Cabell County Public Library moved across 9th Street to a new building that makes no pretense to the similitude of a palace. In 1985 the former library became home to the Huntington Junior College of Business.

Writing Credits

S. Allen Chambers Jr.

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