Building A Better Future Part I

In 1898, a movement began to erect a monument to the memory of our deceased soldiers and sailors who served their country in the civil war. It was to be made of marble or granite.

A few of the civil war veterans sought to divert the efforts to build a cold, useless column of granite and instead erect a more useful memorial, namely a public memorial library building.

Around this time Ottawa University began a campaign for subscriptions to erect a new building and the war the Spain was in full swing. Altogether it seemed poor time to ask for additional donations from the public. Due to this, the efforts to erect the building were put on hold until close to the end of the Spanish War.

In the meantime, Mr. Andrew Carnegie, a Scottish-American steel magnate began making donations for public libraries in larger cities. Not wishing to allow this project to stagnate, local investor Horace J. Smith wrote to Mr. Carnegie in the hope of securing funding for the building. Initially this plea fell on deaf ears, as Mr. Carnegie responded that he had all of the library work he was interested in.

The project went dormant until two energetic and enthusiastic local ladies recommenced communications with Mr. Carnegie. The funds were eventually secured due, in no small part, to the unwavering diligence of Mrs. R. A. Wasson and Mrs. Dr. Black.

Check back next week as we discuss the design and details of the neo-classical Carnegie library building stand in City Park.

Information found in the October 28th, 1903 edition of The Ottawa Daily Republic

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