Society Column: Glimpse of history at Carnegie Library 100th Anniversary Celebration

On June 9 and 10, guests of the Carnegie Library 100th Anniversary Celebration heard history re-enactor, Jeffrey Smith, in the role of Andrew Carnegie, discuss how to become a millionaire.

Smith portrayed Carnegie in a polished performance honed from 20 years of playing historical characters. He is a professor of geography and history at Lindenwood University in St. Louis, and he holds a Ph.D. in history from the University of Akron.

His portrayals of historical characters also include P.T. Barnum, William Clark and George Washington.

The celebration was held at Woody’s Library Restaurant at 40 E. Main St., the former site of the Carmel Clay library.

Historical artifacts and period costumes were on view as barbershop quartet Coalition entertained.

Because the library was built in 1914, Assistant Library Director Nancy Newport compiled a list of facts relating to that time period. The information was printed on paper fans and given to guests at the door.

A few interesting local, national and worldwide historical facts about the state of the world in 1914 include: The library was built in 1914 at a cost of $11,000, equivalent to $23 million today. The population of Carmel was reported as 626 persons compared to more than 83,000 today. The average price of a house in 1914 was $6,156; the price of a car was $550. Average annual wages were $577.

1914 was a seminal year in history in many ways. Henry Ford introduced the assembly line for Model T Fords and changed the automotive world forever. World War I began when Austria-Hungary declared war on Serbia. The Panama Canal opened and the U.S. Post Office used its first car to deliver mail. “Penrod,” by Indiana writer Booth Tarkington, and “The Inside of the Cup,” by Winston Churchill, were best-selling books. Among the top-10 songs were, “It’s a Long Way to Tipperary” and “By the Beautiful Sea.”

Among the many attending, were Carmel residents Alison Brown, Peggy Rogers, Ginny Turpening, and June and John Clair. Library Foundation Director Ruth Nisenshal and Wendy Phillips, the director of Carmel Clay Public Library, greeted guests.

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If you would like Current in Carmel to attend your party, gala or social function, please call Tonya Burton at 432-2451 to schedule your event. We would be happy to photograph guests and let our readers know about upcoming society events.

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