Washington and Jefferson College Library (x2)

Yesterday I shared photos of Citizens Library, the public library of Washington, Pennsylvania. Today I’m sharing photos of two libraries at Washington and Jefferson College: Memorial Library and Clark Family Library.

The Memorial Library is across the street and down the block from the public library. It was built between 1903-1905 and served as the college’s library until 1965. It has been repurposed and now houses several administrative departments.

To the right you can see Citizens Library, the star of yesterday’s post.

To the left of the sign above is the formal school entrance. Walk up these stairs…

Old Main - Washington and Jefferson College

…and you’ll arrive at Old Main. As the sign above explains, part of this building was constructed in 1793. The towers flanking the entrance were added to symbolize unity after the two schools became one in 1865.

When you face Old Main, the Memorial Library is to your right. The main reason for including this photo is to share that fantastic street light. I’ve never seen so many lights on a single pole.

Memorial Library, Washington and Jefferson College, PA

I read on the college website that this is a Carnegie Library, but it is not on the list of Carnegie Libraries in Pennsylvania. It certainly does look like other Carnegie libraries I’ve come across in the classical style.

Names across the top: Shakespeare, Goethe, Moliere, and Dante.

Corner shot showing off more of the library’s beautiful lines.

Names on this side: Cervantes, Thucydides, Demosthenes, and Horace.

The building to right with the white columns is McMillan Hall, built in 1793. It was the original and for some time the solo building of Washington Academy.

The back of the library, which faces the street. One complaint I’ve heard about some Carnegie libraries is that they are/were often dark compared to post 1960s construction. This library doesn’t seem to have that problem with these large windows.

Names on the back side: Milton, Tennyson, Emerson, and Hawthorne.

The last side to share with you has a unique feature, two rectangle panels with quotes.

On the left: “Books will speak plain when counselors blanch” — Bacon
On the right: “In books lies the soul of the whole past time” — Carlyle

Names on this side: Homer, Plato, Virgil, and Isaiah.

Isaiah? I don’t recall ever seeing Isaiah on a library building. Considering they weren’t very far removed from the Civil War when this library was conceived, I wonder if they had this quote in mind:

“They shall beat their swords into plowshares, and their spears into pruning hooks; nation shall not lift up sword against nation, neither shall they learn war any more.” Isaiah 2:4

I like the way the trees touch and how they contrast with the sharp lines of the building.

Clark Family Library

Diagonally across the street from the Memorial Library is the Clark Family Library, which is the academic library of Washington and Jefferson College.

Clark Family Library

On opening in 1966, it was named the U. Grant Miller Library. The library was renamed in 2018 after Richard T. Clark who donated $6 million toward the library’s renovation.

The portico is a new addition.

Close-up of the mid-century gothic-like windows. It is interesting to think that this library was being built at the same time as the Citizens Library down the street. Although they both feature redbrick, they have such different vibes. There must have been some interesting conversations in the neighborhood.

This vantage point of the back of the library shows how the window design breaks up the boxy-ness of the building.

These tables and chairs with umbrellas are a nice touch. The Memorial Library is straight ahead and the Citizens Library is passed that just down the hill.

An interesting fact is that Benjamin Franklin got the library started in 1789 when he donated £50 for books. Five books from that initial purchase remain and are housed in the library’s archives.

Clark Family Library
210 E. Wheeling Street
Washington, PA 15301


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