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Walkable History | Strathcona Public Library

The first library ever built in the city

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Built more than 100 years ago, it's the oldest surviving public library in the entire capital city.

The Strathcona Library is also one of the oldest in the province.

But the land it sits on wasn't part of Edmonton when plans for the institution were first started back in 1907. The farm land was part of a city known as Strathcona where the new library board set to work finding money to get it built.

In 1910, the board started talks with the Carnegie Foundation—the US-based philanthropic organization funded by American industrialist Andrew Carnegie.

Unfortunately, the foundation was only able to offer $15,000, which fell far short of what the board needed.

But the library still got built thanks to the amalgamation of the two cities on either side of the North Saskatchewan River, the city of Edmonton and Strathcona. The coming together of the two cities happened in 1912. This allowed there to be enough money to cover the library's price tag of $27,000.

The two-storey brick building was designed by two prominent local architects, David E. Herrald and Arthur G. Wilson.

The doors opened to the public on March 14, 1913 and continues to serve locals today.

You can learn more about the history of the Strathcona Library at the Alberta Register of Historic Places

Written By Sarah Hoyles

Sarah is a highly motivated, organized and creative writer, communicator and journalist. She is experienced in creating content that thrives in traditional and new media settings. Sarah is curious about the world and wants to share what she learns in an accessible, timely, informative and entertaining manner.


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