Rezoned and Repurposed: Colorado Carnegie Library converted to home

photo credit: Jeffrey Beall - Flickr, Creative Commons license

I first saw this place a couple weeks ago on that new show on HGTV: You Live In What?!

The Carnegie library-turned-home is located in Sterling Colorado which is a small town on the eastern flat lands of Colorado. (No, not all of Colorado is mountainous – we have half of Kansas in our state!)

image from: edithosb.wordpress.com

Anyway, Sterling was one of those small towns in America that benefited from the philanthropy of Industrialist Andrew Carnegie when the townsfolk received funds to build a public library in 1916.

image from: flickr.com

The library was sold privately (probably when a newer, larger and wheelchair accessible space was needed) and the new owner did an exquisite restoration job and conversion into a residence.

image from: pillowsandpancakes.com

For a few years, the old library was even used as a bed & breakfast, and also housed a counselling business.

image from: libraryhistorybuff.blogspot.com

It is now a private residence again but I was still able to find a few interior pictures of the building on-line.

image from: pillowsandpancakes.com

A great deal of care was taken to ensure that most of the original features of the library remained intact – the floors, bookshelves, built-ins, woodwork, etc.

image from: pillowsandpancakes.com

All the shelving you see is original and used to hold rows of books, back in the day.

Here are the bedrooms (or guestrooms when the building was being used as a bed & breakfast)…

image from: pillowsandpancakes.com

image from: pillowsandpancakes.com

image from: pillowsandpancakes.com

image from: pillowsandpancakes.com

I found these interior photos on a bed & breakfast website (pillowsandpancakes.com), so there a few of the bedrooms, but not many photos showcasing the beautiful open common areas and the amazing kitchen. The show on HGTV had really extensive footage of the entire home and it was a real knock-out restoration. Hopefully, it will air again as a re-run.

image from: libraryhistorybuff.blogspot.com

Even though the former library is no longer a public library, the space has been beautifully preserved and the residents of Sterling, Colorado are fortunate to have such a well-kept gem in their community.

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My town, Canon City Colorado, also has a gorgeous old public Carnegie Library just down the street from my house. But unfortunately, due to budget cutbacks, the building is underfunded and in need of a great deal of repair.

image from: http://ccpl.lib.co.us/

It still looks good from the curb, but inside, the roof leaks and there are serious structural and load-bearing issues, thanks (in large part) to a newer 1980’s addition in the back. A builder recently donated a new roof, so it’s a start. We are lucky to have such a treasure in our town – I hope that more resources will be used in preserving important structures like these before it it too late!

How about you? Any Carnegie libraries near you? How is their current condition?

 

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