Dr. William Pepper and Head Librarian John Thomson, initiate
a fundraising campaign for land purchase and building construction.
The Free Library moves from a few overcrowded rooms in City Hall
to the old Concert Hall Building at 1217-1221 Chestnut Street. However, library
officials dislike the cramped location because of its unsafe and unsanitary conditions. They also consider the next-door theater and saloon to be inappropriate neighbors for a library.
Philadelphia voters approve a referendum for a municipal loan
that includes up to "one million dollars for library site and building."
Over the next several years, a library committee considers numerous
sites, including Logan Square.
The Library's Board of Trustees solicits "sealed proposals" for
a site, in local newspapers. Submissions include one that would
demolish our Academy of Music, but all are rejected.
Andrew Carnegie donates $1.5 million to the Free Library to erect
thirty branches, initiating a library building boom. Carnegie's generosity opens avenues of literacy to many
working-class and immigrant Philadelphians; but this massive
campaign forces the Library's Board to lose some momentum in their
search for a central location.
to find a suitable home for a main building are heightened. The
School of Industrial Art (Broad and Pine Streets) becomes a prime
candidate, but the deal collapses.
1910 The Free
Library moves to the College of Physicians building at Thirteenth
and Locust Streets (northeast corner, now a surface parking lot).
It remains here until moving to its current location in 1927.