Council of Independent Colleges Historic Campus Architecture Project


Carnegie Hall

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Institution Name: Alfred University
Original/Historic Place Name: Carnegie Library
Location on Campus: Main St.
Date(s) of Construction and Designer(s):
1912-1913original construction Tilton, Edward L.
1963remodelled Unknown
Type of Place: Individual building
Style(s): (Glossary)
Foundation: stone; concrete
Walls: woods; brick veneer
Roof: shingle
ca. 1913-1957library
ca. 1913-1963administration (President's and Treasurer's offices)
1963-present (2007)administration (President, student affairs, business and finance; sponsored research, Provost, and special events)

Significance: architecture
Landmark designation:
National RegisterAlfred Village Historic District (1985)
Narrative: see below
References: see below

Carnegie Hall is Alfred's only example of the Beaux-Arts style. It is the work of prominent New York City architect Edward L. Tilton, who was well-known for his designs of libraries and other public and educational buildings. The Beaux-Arts style of Carnegie Hall reflects Tilton's early training in the office of McKim, Mead & White and at the Paris Ecole des Beaux-Arts. Tilton's design for Carnegie Hall is distinguished by its strict symmetry and elaborate, classically inspired detailing. A distinctive local interpretation of classical decoration is found on the frieze under the eaves, where blue glazed tiles suggest guttae, thus reflecting the importance of the ceramic industry in Alfred. It is also representative of the community and academic libraries sponsored by Andrew Carnegie. Carnegie's decision to donate to the Alfred library was due in part to the encouragement of Melvil Dewey, who attended Alfred University for a brief time.

A new library was constructed in 1957, and Carnegie was remodeled into administrative offices in 1963. It is part of the Alfred Village's Historic District listed on the National Register in 1985. Carnegie Hall is located on Main St. and continues to be a focal point of the campus, as well as the village, today.

I. Bibliographic sources:

Horowitz, Gary, ed. A Sesquicentennial History of Alfred University: Essays in Change. Alfred, NY: Alfred University, 1985.

"New York State Historic Preservation Building-Structure Inventory Form," (n.d.) Herrick Memorial Library Archives, Alfred University.

Norwood, John Nelson. Fiat Lux: The Story of Alfred University. Alfred, NY: Alfred University, 1957.

Strong, Susan Rumsey. The Most Natural Way in the World: Coeducation at Nineteenth Century Alfred University. Ph.D. dissertation, University of Rochester, 1995.

Todd, Nancy. Alfred Village Historic District. National Register of Historic Places designation report. Washington, DC: U.S. Department of the Interior/National Park Service, 1985.

II. Location of other data:
University: Special Collections, Facilities Management Office
Government Offices

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