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downtown library national register

downtown library national register

Designed by Winkler & Reid
131 Dean McGee Avenue, OKC

This modern structure was built on the site of the original 1901 Carnegie library:

Carnegie Library Oklahoma City

Designed by local firm Winkler & Reid, who also designed the Capitol Hill branch at the same time, lack of funds and bickering over the site for the downtown library kept that project on hold while construction on Capitol Hill moved forward smoothly.  Capitol Hill opened in 1951, but the new downtown library wasn’t dedicated until 1954.

downtown library 2012.201.B0358B.0344], Photograph, January 22, 1957 downtown library

Once it opened, the new library was an immediate success and even incorporated some of the marble that was salvaged from its Carnegie predecessor in some of the interior spaces.  Another perk the new building boasted was a drive-up window to return books:

downtown library - drive thru 2

downtown library - drive thru

Like the Carnegie library before it, this building served the community for 50 years until it closed in 2004 when the new and much larger downtown library opened a few blocks away.  The mid-century building remained vacant for years until it was recently converted into Carnegie Centre, a mixed use development of commercial and living space.

(Vintage images from the OPUBCO collection at The History Center.)

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