1911 Architect Horace Trumbauer begins work with John Ashhurst, 3rd. The architect and assistant librarian present preliminary floor plans based on a rear, vertical book-storage stack, an important late-nineteenth-century design innovation.
1911 Horace Trumbauer and his chief designer, Julian Abele, develop plans for the facade of the Free Library's main building. Abele, who heads the project, unveils a design based on twin facades created by the eighteenth century French architect Ange-Jacques Gabriel for buildings that stand on the Place de la Concorde in Paris.
1911 In the fall, Philadelphians elect Rudolph Blankenburg to succeed Mayor John E. Reyburn. A crusader for fiscal responsibility, the new mayor questions the City's capacity to fund the Fairmount Parkway project. Fearing that the Parkway project will be abandoned, jeopardizing the planned library, Head Librarian Thomson rallies the City's educational and cultural institutions. These groups successfully press for the continuation of the boulevard's construction.
1912 In the spring, Trumbauer and Thomson win approval for their design from Philadelphia's Municipal Art Jury and plan a ground- breaking ceremony for June. Only days before the ceremony, lawyers counsel that the project's uncertain funding will lead to a court battle. Library officials cancel the ground-breaking and postpone construction.