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Preserving the Past, Securing the Future

The Carnegie Center of Columbia Tusculum has been awarded a $150,000 grant for projects that assist in the historic preservation of the building. Our preservation projects include repair of original plaster walls that have been crumbling due to age and wear, repainting and stenciling of walls matching the original colors, refinishing of entry woodwork, returning original vintage lighting to working order will upgrading lighting for energy conservation, refinishing/preserving of the original wood floors, repairing original bathroom flooring tiles, repairing/preserving original clay tile roofing, replacing the duplicate copper roof griffin that was stolen years ago, and replacing thirty year old blinds for added energy conservation.  These projects must begin in 2021 and finish by the end of 2022. 

The Carnegie Center of Columbia Tusculum is one of several remaining original Andrew Carnegie libraries that have been sold outside of the public library systems that are available for public use. It is likely the ONLY Carnegie building that is owned by a nonprofit that exists to preserve and maintain the building's historic character and designation while serving the public as a community center. These projects will restore and preserve the historical integrity of the  property while supporting its continued service to the community. 

About the Projects

The focus and purpose of the scope of work is to restore and preserve original elements of this 116 year old architectural and community treasure. Below are further details about each project element. 


- the exterior renovations will restore historically accurate building elements to original condition/design. The original soffits are decayed and need replaced by exact replicas historically accurate to the building. Not only does this preserve the original exterior decorative elements, but also prevents/stops the flow of water and outside elements into the building to do further damage to the interior. The original roof and clay tiles must be reinforced for the stability and security of the building, keeping the building water-tight and continuing to restore the building's original  roofing design and function.


- The roof was originally accented by two, three dimensional, copper griffin statues. One of the statues was stolen somewhere in its long history. As part of the roof restoration project, the remaining griffin will be replicated and the missing griffin replaced back to the original design.


- The walls on the interior first floor are the original plaster walls from 1905. 70% of the interior walls needs the plaster returned to its original condition because of cracking, chipping, age and water damage. To do so, the interior east, west and foyer wall will need plaster repairs and then repainted to the original historic colors with original hand-stenciled design once the plaster is restored. 


- There is 3400 square feet of floor space in our building with original wood floors. Over 115 years of wear from thousands of annual guests, they are in need of complete restoration for the long term preservation of the building.  The wood floors are unique in their small boards and concentric design, which is irreplaceable with modern materials/design. Therefore, the floors will be sanded to level/even the existing boards and completely re-stained. The most durable polyurethane top coat will be used for long-term preservation of the original floors. 


-The front entry lighting fixtures are original, vintage fixtures that lost functionality due to age. The original light and clock will be restored and preserved so that they function correctly, safely, and with energy efficiently upgrades while preserving the original look and design intent. 


- The building was designed with two restrooms. Both still have original marble tiling in an architectural design. They need restored to their original condition by re-surfacing, replacing broken/missing tiles, and preserving the design. Additionally, the one original toilet needs to be restored to functionality with updated plumbing work and unit replacement.  Restoring the original men's bathroom second toilet and stall and preserving/restoring the men's and handicap restroom tile will return the bathroom to its original design and functionality. 


-Replacing existing window treatments with historically accurate, yet technically advanced shades will provide for a more energy efficient facility while replicating the original treatment design. 


This project restores the original architectural design, elements and function while reinforcing the historic neighborhood's community access and long-term preservation.

While these projects are exciting and necessary to preserve our neighborhood architectural and cultural treasure for posterity, a commitment of matching grant dollars is required for participation in this program. As a long-term community nonprofit, we depend upon the generous support of neighbors and friends to help us with our ongoing mission to provide a historic gathering place for learning, sharing and celebrating. We'd like our friends to consider supporting our campaign initiative "Preserving the Past, Securing the Future." We will be working over the next few months to secure the matching funds while our projects get underway and invite you to explore why an investment in The Carnegie Center of Columbia Tusculum is an investment in the community!

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