Library Stop: Beatrice, Nebraska (Old Carnegie Library)

Beatrice City Library
218 North 5th Street
Beatrice, Nebraska

No longer in use as a library.  See the Carnegie Restoration Project website for future plans.

Update 2018: The library is now the home of the Gage County Tourism and Vistors Center, the Beatrice Area Chamber of Commerce, and NGage. It is also available for private events.

Grant Date: March 14, 1902
Grant amount: $23,000
Architect: George Burlinghof
Style: Beaux-Arts
Opened: January 1, 1904
In use until 1991

Main level originally designed for 16,000 volumes. Lower level included a large open area designed for lectures, exhibits, and debates.

The Beatrice City Library was the first Carnegie Library in Nebraska. It was build prior to Carnegie’s specifications for libraries using his grant money. (Many towns ran out of funds during the construction of their library or ran into other problems, so Carnegie eventually started requiring certain standards. Beatrice obviously did not have such problems.) When I visited last spring the library was vacant, but plans are in the works for its renovation and re-purposing. Please visit here for information on these efforts, the history of the building, and historic pictures.

The date on the ornamental piece is 1903.


Wish there’d been a person handy to stand in front to show the size of this grand building.
Can you see the boot scraper to the left of the stairs?
Boot scraper.


Cornice and column detail.


A view of the entryway arch from below.


Lions guarding the knowledge within.


Wonderful facial detail and paws with claws.


I like how realistic the tail looks.


A peek through the front doors. Beautiful natural light.


The back door.


The wooden curb out front has nothing to do with the library, but I thought it was neat.


Using modern designs with an old building can sometimes be a challenge!

On Thursday: Pictures of the new Beatrice Public Library on 9th Street.

What do you think? Leave a comment and let's talk!

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