Former Carnegie Library Demolished

By: Tametria Conner Email
By: Tametria Conner Email

Decades of history were demolished in Meridian Wednesday. The historic Carnegie Library building on 13th Street and 28th Avenue was razed.

"This has been, after many, many years of studying and attempting to obtain money to (renovate) the library," said Robert Hughes, president of the board of trustees of St. Paul United Methodist Church, which owns the property.

Hughes said the building was in deplorable condition. He says the church's board of trustees had tabled discussion for three years and finally put a plan weeks ago to start the demolition.

"From my understanding,it was the very first library here in Meridian that was shared by all races," said Hughes. "It was built before the library that was built by the city."

Community Foundation of East Mississippi executive director Roman Herrington said he was a little surprised when he heard the news of the demolition. Herrington oversees the newly formed Charles Young, Sr., Historic Preservation Endowment, which has money earmarked to help with African-American restoration projects. He said the organization looked forward to this building's restoration.

"It was certainly one of those buildings that I know Rep. Young had a strong affection for. And if there's anything that we're loyal to, it's to the loyalty of the original vision of our donors," said Herrington. "So it's a certain mixture of emotion when you hear that the Carnegie building is no longer there. And when we start losing a significant number of these buildings, then what does it say about our future?"

The building had not been used in years.

"It was, yes, in very horrible condition," said Hughes. "We, during the last three years, we have had it inspected by the engineers. It was not structurally sound."

So what's next? Church officials say several project ideas are on the table, but they are not at liberty to discuss what those projects are. But they did say eventually a new beginning will take the place of this historical site.

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