Saturday, August 29, 2015

Greenpoint Library - Carnegie Library

Color postcard of original Greenpoint Carnegie Library
Greenpoint Carnegie Library - Historic Postcard
Greenpoint Library from the opposite corner
Existing Greenpoint Library
Greenpoint Library Entrance
Greenpoint Library Entrance
Mural on side of Greenpoint Library
Greenpoint Library Mural
The current Greenpoint Library was not always as it is today. Someone I know referred to the building as a bomb shelter, and I can understand why. The building has a low profile and maintains an emphasis on the horizontal plane with its windows and roofline giving it a squat (and sturdy) appearance. In addition, the choice of materials seem a little drab. That said, I could forgive the library’s dated aesthetic if I didn’t know about the building that once housed the same institution. 

On the corner of Norman Avenue and Leonard Street where the existing Greenpoint Library sits used to be a brick and limestone Classical Revival style Carnegie Library.[1] Libraries were one of steel magnet Andrew Carnegie’s favorite philanthropic ventures. Any municipality that provided a site and would fund, stock and support a new library could receive funding for design and construction of the building from Carnegie.[2] Designed by architect R.L. Daus, the Carnegie Library received praise from the Greenpoint Star for its “tasteful simplicity”.[1][2] The building was constructed in 1906 at a cost of 75 thousand dollars and was Brooklyn’s 8th Carnegie Library. Unfortunately, the structural integrity of the building’s foundation was compromised and since it was "too expensive to repair", in 1970 the library was demolished.[2] The existing library was built in 1973; the mural by artist Leslie A. Wood gracing the structure’s walls with some much needed visual appeal was painted in 2013.[1]

Sources:
  1. Greenpoint Library BrooklynLibrary.org
  2. Brian Merlis & Riccardo Gomes Brooklyn's Historic Greenpoint Gomerl Publishing NJ 2015