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Georgian Center (Wheeling Public Library)

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Wheeling Public Library
1910–1911, Charles W. Bates. 2100 Market St. (southeast corner of Market and 21st sts.)
  • (West Virginia Collection within the Carol M. Highsmith Archive, Library of Congress, Prints and Photographs Division)

Wheeling has the dubious distinction of having been the first American city to reject a Carnegie grant for its library. Though many citizens supported the idea, the Ohio Valley Trades and Labor Assembly was adamant in opposing a project it considered a monument to management. Negotiations with Carnegie officials were broken off in 1910, and the city's Board of Education decided to build the library without outside assistance.

The neoclassical building of bright red brick has a top-heavy look due to a later, overbearing third story. Below, Bates's original two-story design remains easily discernible, as the full entablature that originally topped the building now acts as a belt course between the second and third stories. The former library is now used as commercial space for parties and receptions under the rubric Georgian Center.

Writing Credits

S. Allen Chambers Jr.

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