Heritage, Volume 9, Number 4, Fall 1991 Page: 23
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This governmental construction photograph, taken January 1, 1917, proved vital during the restoration of the Belton Carnegie Building.
two months later when the lack of funds
forced the library to close for a short period
of time. Financial problems were to plague
the organization for the next 25 years.
In 1933 the city of Belton finally assumed
control of the library. Little, if any,
maintenance had been performed on the
building since its construction, and by
the mid 1960s, it was apparent that immediate
repairs were needed. By the mid
'70s, the library had outgrown the old
Seventy years after the dedication of the
Belton Carnegie Library a new library
building was opened, and the old building
The city then leased the building to the
Bell County Historical Commission for use
as a museum. A museum was opened but
functioned for only a few years. By the early
1980s it became apparent, even to the
casual observer, that the old building was
deteriorating rapidly. The roof leaked, and
water formed pools on the second floor.
Pigeons nested, undisturbed, in the spaces
between the floor joists, and there were
dozens of bats in the attic.
A cosmetic restoration was completed
on the lower floor in 1984, but no major
structural repairs, other than patching the
roof, were attempted. The second floor
remained closed to the general public.
The Carnegie Building in 1934, almost 30 years after it was opened. Little, if any, maintenance had been
performed on the building since its construction. Note that most of the exterior ornamentation has been
Following an extensive feasibility study,
Ward Bogard, one of the leading restoration
architects in the state, was hired to
evaluate the overall condition of the building
and to produce a restoration plan and
cost estimate. The news was not good.
Restoration projections totaled nearly
$400,000. Undaunted, the Bell County
Historical Commission set out to raise the
money. Major Texas foundations were
contacted, and a fundraising campaign was
launched within Bell County. Just over
one year later the money was in place and
Two years later, on March 1, 1991, at
7:00 p.m. (the workers finished the job at
HERITAGE * FALL 1991 23
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Texas Historical Foundation. Heritage, Volume 9, Number 4, Fall 1991, periodical, Autumn 1991; Austin, Texas. (texashistory.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metapth45425/m1/23/: accessed June 27, 2017), University of North Texas Libraries, The Portal to Texas History, texashistory.unt.edu; crediting Texas Historical Foundation.