Sunday, August 16, 2009

Carnegie Hall at the Sandusky Library

The Sandusky Daily Star, in its February 20, 1901 issue, reported that when Andrew Carnegie gave his “handsome gift” to Sandusky to be used for the purpose of building a public library, one of his stipulations was that the library should have a music hall and an organ, and efforts were to be made to have free musical recitals for the community on a regular basis. The Carnegie Library had its grand opening on July 3, 1901. The musical hall held 338 people, and was known as “Carnegie Hall.”
One of the earliest groups to sponsor concerts at Sandusky’s Carnegie Hall was the Tuesday Musical Club. The composer Beethoven was featured on the January 21, 1902 concert. It appears that the entertainment was provided by local musicians. The string quartet was composed of Miss Heiter, Mr. Dempsey, Mr. Schnaitter, and Mr. Anderson. Mary Lockwood and Mr. Anderson had solo numbers, and the final number was “Symphony, C. Minor” which was performed by Mrs. Williams, Mrs. Feick, Miss Stoll, and Mrs. Sloane. Anna G. Lockwood was the President of the Tuesday Musical Club during the 1901-1902 season. Miss Lockwood (Shown below in her 1888 Sandusky High School graduation photo) would go on to teach piano at the Institute of Musical Art, later known as The Juilliard School in New York City.
Besides musical events, Carnegie Hall was used for political, social, and other cultural activities. In December, 1903, Professor Edwin Earle Sparks gave a lecture about Alexander Hamilton, and also presented a short study of the U.S. Constitution at Carnegie Hall. In January 1905, Hewson Peeke and F. G Strickland participated in a lively debate at Carnegie Hall. Hewson Peeke’s premise was: “Resolved that the Prohibition party presents a better solution of the labor problem than the Socialist party.” Mr. Strickland was a member of the Socialist Party. The January 21, 1905 Sandusky Star Journal wrote that about two-thirds of the crowd in attendance were in support of Mr. Strickland.

Area clubs and organizations often met at Carnegie Hall. In January of 1905, the Knights of St. John and its Ladies Auxiliary had their joint installation of officers at Carnegie Hall. In January, 1908, a new club called the “Children of the Republic” held a preliminary meeting at Carnegie Hall. Several ladies from the Martha Pitkin Chapter of the Daughters of the American Revolution wanted to help young people in Sandusky to learn how to become good citizens. Speakers for the evening were Mrs. Thomas M. Sloane, Mrs. James Melville, Mrs. Roy Williams, and Dr. Carrie Chase Davis. The annual meeting of the Erie County Farm Bureau held one of its sessions at Carnegie Hall in February, 1920. The Firelands Historical Society held an all day session at Carnegie Hall on November 10, 1920.

By 1929, the space in the auditorium on the first floor of the Library would become an adult reading room with additional space for books and shelves. Though the library no longer features a music hall, you can read about the early days of the Sandusky Library in the historical newspapers, housed on microfilm in the Archives Research Center of the Sandusky Library. The music hall of the original Carnegie library building in Sandusky is now a portion of the Children’s Services Area of the Sandusky Library.

1 comment:

Peter said...

What a wonderful idea more than a century ago to combine a library with a music hall and organ.

The Tuesday Musical Club must have been quite the thing then.

Cannot help feeling that we should have followed your lead and combined learning, study and reading for pleasure with musical evenings.

Nobody to could then say: "Hush!"

Peter Belchamber
Carnegie Library lender
Herne Hill, London