Smithfield Carnegie Library

The Smithfield Carnegie Library started out as a small community project and eventually became a beloved piece of history to the people in Smithfield. Though small, the Smithfield library was one of the first in the nation to have its own art collection. 

In 1868, local residents of Smithfield wished to open a library. They did not have the money to build a separate building for a library, so they used space in the Second Ward Tabernacle. It continued to be used as a reading room until 1917. On February 3, 1916, Daughters of Utah Pioneers worked with other civic groups to develop and present a plan for a community library to the Mayor, Joseph J. Richardson. The idea was approved by the Mayor and the City Council. The designer of the library and local architect was Fred W. Hodgson. 

Hodgson was the brother of prominent Ogden architect Leslie Hodgson with whom he apprenticed. Around 1915, Hodgson and his wife, Mary Eleanor Bingham, moved to Logan. During the next 15 years, Hodgson developed architectural plans for numerous schools in Cache and Box Elder Counties as well as churches, jails, and private homes.

Shortly after plans for the library were approved, the city was in contact with the Carnegie Corporation in New York. Andrew Carnegie had previously announced an initiative to help fund the construction of libraries across the nation. He granted Smithfield $12,000 to build its library.  Building commenced thereafter and, in 1921, it was completed. 

On December 3, 1922, the Smithfield Carnegie Library held a dedicatory service in the Second Ward Tabernacle. When the service at the Tabernacle was finished, the congregation went over to the library where Sylvester Low Jr. of the Library Commission gave the dedicatory prayer.

The Smithfield Carnegie Library also holds a collection of Mary H. Teasdel's art. Consisting of thirty-two oil paintings, the Teasdel collection made the Smithfield Library one of the first libraries in the nation to have its own art collection. Teasdel was appointed to the governing board of the Utah Art Institute and eventually became president of the Institute. Two of her pieces, “Mother and Child” and “French Peasant Knitting” are hanging in the Utah State Capitol.

The interior of the library was remodeled in 1962-63 and again in 1977. In 1980, The building was placed on the National Register of Historic Places. In 2014, a large addition was designed by Skyline, AES Inc and built by Landmark Companies. Despite renovations, the look and feel of the original library remains. 

Images

The Smithfield Carnegie Library
The Smithfield Carnegie Library Source: "Smithfield Carnegie Public Library, 25 North Main Street" Peter Goss. 1921. Used by permission, Utah State Historical Society. https://collections.lib.utah.edu/ark:/87278/s6k35xnd.
The Smithfield Carnegie Library was added to the National Register of Historic Places in 1981.
The Smithfield Carnegie Library was added to the National Register of Historic Places in 1981. Source: "Smithfield Public Library." 1921. 81000580;
The Carnegie Library in recent years.
The Carnegie Library in recent years. Source: "Smithfield Utah Carnegie Library." Tricia Simpson. May 1, 2010. Via Wikimedia Commons. https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Smithfield_Utah_Carnegie_Library.jpeg.

Location

Metadata

Doug Murdock, Weber State University, “Smithfield Carnegie Library,” Intermountain Histories, accessed May 18, 2024, https://www.intermountainhistories.org/items/show/687.