New owner plans move into former C.P. Carnegie library

2014-03-08T20:15:00Z 2014-03-08T23:12:29Z New owner plans move into former C.P. Carnegie librarySusan Erler susan.erler@nwi.com, (219) 662-5336 nwitimes.com

CROWN POINT | Law books will replace library books in a former city library.

Attorney Michael Lambert said he plans to complete the move of his law offices into the Carnegie library building within the next several weeks.

The building belonged to the Crown Point Community Library board of trustees, which sold it in late January to Lambert for $260,000, Library Director Lynn Frank said. It had been on the market since mid-2013.

The red brick, stone-columned former library at 223 S. Main St. is one of several prominent structures anchoring the south end of the city's downtown, including the Masonic Temple next door and Old Sheriff's House and Jail across the street.

Lambert, who specializes in criminal law, said he'd been looking for office space in Crown Point when he saw the Carnegie building on the market.

An abiding love for architecture and history prompted him to buy it.

"I've been a history buff since I was a kid, and I have a strong affinity for local history," said Lambert, who grew up in Crown Point.

One of two large rooms at the front of the building, each with a large, stained-glass-topped window facing Main Street, will house his office, he said.

A doorway connecting the building with the annex has been walled off, and the annex remains up for sale.

The Carnegie building served as the main library from the time it opened in 1908 until 1974, when the library moved for more space into an attached annex facing Court Street.

Library administrative offices were housed in the Carnegie Center.

The new, $12 million Crown Point Community Library opened in late 2012 at 122 N. Main St., leaving the Carnegie building and annex vacant.

The former library is one of hundreds of built in the U.S. more than a century ago with money donated by industrialist Andrew Carnegie.

Carnegie intended the libraries to bring enlightenment to patrons in the dozens of cities and towns where they were built.

Carnegie promised $12,000 for construction of the Crown Point library, provided the community would commit to annual maintenance.

An earlier library formed by the McLure Library Association in 1857 had been in space at 106 S. Main St., according to information from Indiana Landmarks.

After the books were moved to a public school building in 1885, the collection fell into disuse and the community was without a library for more than 20 years, according to the agency.

In 1906, the newly formed Crown Point Library Board purchased land on South Main Street where the Carnegie library was built starting in 1907.

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