STAIRS BEING REPAIRED … The original Carnegie Stairs at the Bryan Public Library are currently being repaired. The stairs have been closed off from use since the 1970’s, because of the needed repairs. The stairs could be ready for use by the end of May. (PHOTO BY DANIEL COOLEY, STAFF)
By: Daniel Cooley
In the late 1800’s and the early 1900’s, Andrew Carnegie gave funds strictly for the building of 1,689 public libraries throughout the United States.
Each of those libraries built by Carnegie consisted of stairs at the front of the building. Today, 750 Carnegie buildings are used as libraries, including the Bryan Public Library.
The only thing missing in Bryan is to have functional stairs at the front of the building. The original Carnegie stairs have been closed off because of disrepair, since the 1970’s.
“No one seems to be able to pinpoint the exact year that the stairs were closed down,” said Williams County Public Library Director Jeff Yahraus.
“I know that when I started working at the library in 1977, the stairs were closed off, then.”
But that has now changed. Under the direction of Midstate Contractors in Marion, Ohio, the stairs are now being rebuilt.
The original stairs are being replaced with limestone steps and the original bricks used for building the stairs in 1903, will be used for support.
The new project is estimated to cost $300,000. Yahraus said that some money has been set aside each year for this project.
The Brown family made a donation that Yahraus said has been set aside for seed money. Friends of the Bryan Library have also donated $15,000. “We’re also hoping that others will donate money,” Yahraus said.
For those who are interested in donating, contact Yahraus, at email@example.com.
Yahraus said that the stairs project has been talked about since the 1990’s, when the Bryan Library was going through major renovations.
At that point in time, the stairs project looked to be totally abandoned for a terrace to be built at the top of the original Carnegie Stairs.
“But then, the years went by and in 2008, everything crashed,” Yahraus said. “Then, a couple of years ago, a group of us met to decide whether to go with a terrace or stairs replacement and it was decided that we would go with the stairs.”
“The problem with a terrace is that it would get pretty noisy with all the truck traffic going by. I told everyone at that point, I’m getting ready to retire, so I would like this stairs project get going, before I retire.”
Midstate Contractors won the bid for the Carnegie stairs project. Yahraus said the projected completion date is the end of May.
“That date, of course, depends on the weather,” Yahraus said. “But I have yet to see a project that finished on time.”
“But I am so excited to finally see this project come to fruition. I am really excited that I can see this project through. It will be nice to see the stairs in use again and not roped off anymore.”
Dan can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org