Indy, a few Memo’s back you mentioned Andrew Carnegie of Carnegie Steel. He dedicated his life to give the profits of his company away, more than $300,000,000. Later he sold Carnegie Steel to J.P. Morgan for $350,000,000 making him the richest man in the world.
Carnegie’s philanthropy built libraries all over America, some big towns but primarily small towns. He would build the building and the towns would supply the books.
My home town, Grundy Center Iowa, received a $6,000 Carnegie grant in 1910. Our library was dedicated in 1912.
I have strong memories of that library that transcend reality, metaphysical.
My little town is rich in history, richest farm łand in the world, 4-foot black loam soil which prompted Carl Sandberg to say, ”looks good enough to eat without running it through vegetables first.” Grundy Center has several Frank Lloyd Wright prairie houses and its little Main Street is lined with wonderful restored Victorians. One of the finest examples of squished red tile homes in the world today is surrounded by two acres of formal gardens. The family that built it still lives there.
I spent many years in that library.
Books have a special smell, unmistakable. A librarian in her 60’s with a wool skirt, plaid blouse, wire rimmed glasses, hair in a tight bun.
The Hardy Boy Mysteries!
That library building was torn down to make room for something new. What a travesty!
That marvelous smell is gone.