Photo by Peggy Sturdivant

Old Carnegie Free Library up for landmarks nomination, again

Update: The Landmarks Preservation Board will consider landmark nomination for the Ballard Carnegie Free Library on Wednesday, Sept. 19, at 3:30 p.m., in the 40th floor, Rm. 4060 of the Seattle Municipal Tower.

The meeting is open to the public and comments may be made. Written comments can be submitted until 5 p.m., Sept. 17 at the following address: Seattle Landmarks Preservation Board, Seattle Dept. of Neighborhoods, P.O. Box 94649, Seattle WA, 98124-4649.

Looking at the building from the outside, it would seem like a no-brainer: The Ballard Carnegie Free Public Library is a historic landmark, no question. The brick masonry and the "Neo-Italianate" style architecture speaks for itself.

But it isn't a landmark. At least, not officially. Which is one of the reasons why it's now home to the relatively popular Kangaroo & Kiwi Pub, and why they were able to change the windows without any if, ands or buts about it. Because it isn't a landmark, the building can technically be altered, renovated or torn down entirely at any point in time. (Thankfully, nothing so extreme has happened quite yet.)

Finally, though, after having existed for over a century, and 35 years after its first nomination for landmark status in 1977 (which was never scheduled for an official designation), the Ballard Carnegie Free Public Library is up for nomination once more.

The Ballard Carnegie Free Library was built in 1904, while Ballard was still its own city before being annexed in 1907. It is the oldest surviving library in the city of Seattle, having escaped demolition twice. It served as a center for Scandinavian immigrants, who used the library as a gathering spot and a means to learn the local culture and English language.

The full nomination document can be found here.

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