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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  • by Linda Location: Washington, DC on May 10, 2009 at 07:06 AM
    This Carnegie Library was the only library built for blacks in the entire state until after WWI. (Neil R. McMillen, ''Dark Journey'', p.11) The years of Jim Crow excluded blacks from many public facilities. It's too bad that it was not saved.
  • by Steve McCartney Location: Meridian on May 30, 2008 at 08:18 PM
    It really breaks my heart that this piece of Meridian's black history is gone. I tried to do something to save it several years ago, but got no support. This was one of the dozen or so Andrew Carnegie built libraries in the country specifically for black populations and one one of two I have heard of that was still standing. There was a fundraiser a couple of years ago held at MSU-Meridian which raised $25,000 to help stabilize this treasure, but the money vanished and only recently was given to the Community Foundation. Just think. Did Dr. King visit this library when he visited Meridian? Were voters registered in this building during the civil rights era? What local black leaders used this library to reach their goals? It was on the National Register of Historic Buildings and should have been saved! I guess maybe the legacy of that buidling and what it stood for just scared some people. It's a loss for this community, but it's a loss for our country.
  • by Mungie Location: Philadelphia on May 29, 2008 at 06:58 AM
    St. Paul's what are you thinking? Did you not know the endowment fund existed to restore this building? Could you not have donated it to the city or someone like Mr. Young? Or better yet--did you really think???? Not good on your part--not good at all.
  • by Blogdog Location: meRIDian on May 28, 2008 at 09:14 PM
    I guess Weschler School is next on your list of demolition projects!!!!!
  • by Blogdog Location: land of confusion on May 28, 2008 at 09:07 PM
    They can restore "City Hall" but they can't restore the Carnegie Library,what a crock!!!Meridian, what's done in the dark will come to light!! And St. Paul, your forefathers are turning in their graves right now, and you wonder why your membership has gone to pot!
  • by Julian on May 28, 2008 at 05:39 PM
    It's a shame that the Black landmarks in this town are being wiped out of existence!! If Merrehope, F.W. Williams,or the temple theatre were being marked for demolition, white people would be screaming bloody murder! And shame on the board of puppets of St. Paul church, what goes around comes around...what are you going to do with your 40 pieces of silver you Judases!!!
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