Free Library of Philadelphia, South Philadelphia Branch, 2407 South Broad Street, Philadelphia, Philadelphia County, PA
Significance: South Philadelphia was one of twenty-five branch libraries constructed between 1904 and 1930 for the Free Library of Philadelphia using a $1.5 million grant from the Carnegie Corporation. Andrew Carnegie's public library construction grants were a major impetus to the growth of these institutions throughout the country. Philadelphia was second only to New York City in the size of the Carnegie grant and number of branch libraries constructed. Each jurisdiction receiving Carnegie library funds was responsible for providing a site and operating expenses equal to ten percent of the cost of construction. Prior to receiving the Carnegie funds in 1903, branch libraries of the Free Library of Philadelphia (founded 1891) were housed in a variety of preexisting structures. The Carnegie library construction campaign provided twenty-five purpose-built branch libraries for the City of Philadelphia, each designed within the ideal of efficient operation and using fashionable, if conservative, architectural forms and motifs.
South Philadelphia was the sixteenth Carnegie branch library opened by the Free Library of Philadelphia. Plans for the structure were approved by the Free Library Board of Trustees Carnegie Fund Committee on July 25, 1912 and the branch opened to the public on November 24, 1914. The South Philadelphia Branch was designed by Philadelphia architect Charles Louis Borie, Jr.. Borie's firm, then Zantzinger & Borie, also designed the first Free Library Carnegie branch, West Philadelphia, in 1904-06.
Survey number: HABS PA-6767
Building/structure dates: 1914 Initial Construction