Carnegie Library of Homestead – History

Carnegie Library of Homestead

510 E 10th Avenue

Munhall, PA

The land this library and community center sits was home to the bloodiest conflict in Pittsburgh’s history. During the steel industry’s dominion, the city was essentially ruled with an iron fist by the wealthy dictators of Andrew Carnegie and Henry Clay Frick. While these men attempted to abolish the steel workers union in 1892, a bloody conflict broke out between a private security agency, known as the Pinkerton Agency, and the union workers. This conflict ended with 12 dead on the spot, 4 more died of wounds, and over two dozen others were injured.

 

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After the fact, Andrew Carnegie appeared to change his outlook on their industry and the workers who made him worth millions. Carnegie dedicated over 2,500 libraries world wide, but did make a special attempt to help the community in Munhall which was devastated after the union strikes and violent clash. 

In 1896, construction began on Carnegie’s special library project, a gift to the town and his employees. The library was much more than just a simple book depository. This library was also to act as a community center, an elaborate music hall, and an athletic center. The construction was complete and the facility was officially opened in 1898. This center became a meeting location for steel workers, their spouses, and even their children. The athletic center boasted a full Olympic size pool, track, and gymnasium. They hosted sports leagues and training seminars, which were always maxed out to capacity. The music hall was constantly packed, showing the support and love for the fine arts with 1,022 seats available to the public.

 

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Like most older buildings in the city, the library has undertaken some light renovations but the original architecture and ornate woodwork has never once been altered. Over time, the libraries that were donated by Carnegie have been overturned to schools and communities, however, the Carnegie Library of Homestead is the only library remaining which still stands alone due to funds left to the facility by Andrew Carnegie. The borough of Munhall did accept responsibility for the maintenance and upkeep of the library in 1988 upon the sale of Carnegie’s business. It still remains in fully functional operation and has been well taken care of and looks as though it did when Carnegie was still alive.

Throughout its’ history, the library has been said to house relics of the past. Not physical artifacts mind you, but rather remnants and traces of the past that have taken solace in the library as their eternal homes.

 

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Noises and shadow figures have been reported frequently, and it is even said that books will fly off shelves only to be replaced and reorganized. Much speculation has been made that these shadow figures could be the spirits of the deceased union workers from the union battle finally returning to enjoy the gift of the library that they were never able to in their former lives.

Andrew Carnegie himself has been sighted in the adult reading area where sudden drops of temperature occur quite often while the books on the shelves in that room are often reorganized randomly. There’s also the feeling of someone watching visitors as they venture into the room. A loud shouting noise has been reported coming out of this room as well.

 

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In the swimming pool area, it is rumored that splashing noises have been heard as well as gargling cries of, “help,” coming from the pool. In 1899, Robert Peebles drowned in that pool in only 8 feet of water. Upon the police arrival it was reported that he was killed under mysterious circumstances. These noises have been linked to Peebles’ untimely and odd death.

 

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Throughout the music hall, there have been documentation of laughter and disembodied voices echoing in the auditorium when no one is in the building. Appearing quite vividly in some photographs have been full bodied apparitions seen in the music hall. This apparition likes to follow women around the theater as they have been said to be cold and even see their breath during performances while no one else has any issues with the temperature. The main entry doors to the theater have also been recorded to open and close on their own as well as a shouting noise, almost as though someone is having a panic attack and trying to get help similar to that heard in the adult reading room.

Inside the locker room, connected to the gymnasium, a female’s laughter can be heard sometimes explained as a cackle. The wooden benches have been seen shaking out of no where, and the benches can even be seen bowing in the middle almost as if someone is has taken a seat there.

 

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The past evidence in the Carnegie Library is extremely compelling and we are hoping to investigate and learn more. The occurrences of paranormal experiences seem to run rampant here and appear to occur regularly.

 

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