walkLEX: Carnegie Center


Carnegie Center in Lexington
With 400 books, Lexington began the first library in Kentucky in 1795. It was also the first library west of the Alleghenies. By 1898, the state legislature deemed Lexington large enough to warrant the creation of a free public library. So with a $60,000 gift from steel-magnate Andrew Carnegie, the City of Lexington constructed the Carnegie Library - the first Lexington Public Library.

The total cost to build was about $75,000 and it was completed in 1906. The neoclassical rests at the south end of Gratz Park and served as the city's main library branch until the late 1980s when a new, larger structure was built on Main Street. Today, the building serves as the Carnegie Center for Literacy and Learning.
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