“Iron Master Makes Gift”: Carnegie Library at Otterbein University (a Frank Packard design)

This blog is intended to accompany Otterbein’s former Carnegie Library being listed February 5, 2021, on the National Register of Historic Places. Due to that, due to my interest in its architect, and due to one discovery leading to another…this thing got out of hand. So my apologies for long windedness. Press on to the pictures if you prefer. There will be some future blog offshoots to this Carnegie one based on what I dug up, but they will be kept shorter. 😊 PLEASE NOTE: This blog contains almost 100 pictures so give it a few minutes to download. They download haphazardly. The Packard mausoleum is the very last picture.

About Carnegie Free Public Libraries

Andrew Carnegie once said “the man who dies rich, dies disgraced.” And thus, the self-made Scottish immigrant who built Pittsburgh’s Carnegie Steel Company into the largest steel manufacturer in the world proceeded to give away his vast wealth.

The first free public library funded by a Carnegie grant opened in Fairfield, Iowa, in 1893 (still standing). Over the course of the next approximately 30 years an additional 1,688 libraries opened including 111 in Ohio (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_Carnegie_libraries_in_Ohio). Of that total, 70% were built in towns with populations of 10,000 or fewer and for under $20,000 in cost. Grant amounts were based on $2-$3 per resident. Requirements to receive a grant included demonstrating need for a public library, providing a building site, and an ability to provide support and maintenance at an annual amount of 10% of the grant. At program’s end, there were 3,500 public libraries in the U.S. with half of those funded by Carnegie grants. Over 800 additional buildings were constructed in other countries.

When Carnegie’s grant program began, there were no architectural restrictions. Communities designed buildings that had excessive waste (at the expense of the intended use) such as grand entry halls, colonnades, marble trim, vaulted domes, rooms devoted to art or other non-library purpose, etc. By 1904, Carnegie’s private secretary James Bertram began reviewing blueprints to ensure functional library layouts that avoided such waste. Later, he prepared a pamphlet suggesting 6 floor plans for small libraries housed on a main floor including a partially exposed basement with large windows and a flight of steps leading up to the front door. State library associations picked up this effort of restraint. The most common resulting façade design used by architects became referred to as the Carnegie Classical. About a fourth of all Carnegies are of this design.

In 1919, the grant program funding construction of Carnegie libraries ended. By the close of World War II, these buildings were 40 to 50 years old and their demise had begun. Suburbs developed and city centers decayed as population shifted outward. Carnegies were converted to other uses, demolished for parking needed by adjacent businesses, replaced by one-story buildings without basements, or razed by the urban renewal movement of the 1960’s. A major handicap to these buildings was the flight of steps that limited access. The remedies lead to severely altering the original facades. Fortunately, the preservation movement born after the urban renewal movement has saved many Carnegies in their original exterior appearance though the use and thus the interiors have changed.

About Carnegie Academic Libraries

Most of the above information was obtained from Theodore Jones’ book Carnegie Libraries Across America, published in 1997, which is an extensive history of the Carnegie libraries built in this country. Oddly, there is no mention of a second category of Carnegie libraries…academic libraries. Carnegie Library (now Clippinger Hall) at Otterbein University is 1 of 7 academic libraries constructed in Ohio. The other college and university libraries are located at Cedarville, Heidelberg, Marietta, Miami, Oberlin, and Wilberforce. All still stand. The library at Athens was opened as a free public library and was shared with Ohio University. In the cities of Marietta and Tiffin (Heidelberg), both an academic and a public library were Carnegie-funded.

Per Wikipedia, 109 academic libraries were constructed in 32 states plus the District of Columbia. Pennsylvania has the most at 9 followed by Iowa, Kansas and Ohio at 7 each. Of the 109, 19 have been razed while 14 have been added to the National Register of Historic Places including the libraries at Heidelberg and at Wilberforce. Only a handful of those remaining retain either their original library use or a new specialized library use. Andrew Carnegie had a preference for African-American academic institutions, and 16 received grants including Wilberforce. No information has been found regarding the purpose of grants awarded to academic institutions.

Otterbein Site Prior to Carnegie Library

A two-story brick house occupied this site prior to the construction of Carnegie Library. It was the residence of Dr. Lewis Davis, a founder of Otterbein and president of the University from 1850 to 1857 and then again from 1860 to 1871. Prior to its demolition, the structure housed the Davis Conservatory of Music. The conservatory was relocated directly across the street to the new Lambert Memorial Music and Art Hall that opened in 1909.

Westerville was part of an Underground Railroad trail leading north to freedom. Among those who assisted escaping slaves was Dr. Davis. In his Mysteries of Ohio’s Underground Railroads published in 1951, Wilbur Henry Siebert writes that the Davis family “hid wayfarers back of cornstalks hanging from their attic rafters” at various times from 1848 to 1854. In 1854 another Otterbein founder, Reverend William Hanby, moved to Westerville and settled next door. Hanby constructed a barn at the back of his house for his harness and saddle-making business. In it, he and Davis hid slaves in the haymow with oldest son Benjamin R. (Otterbein Class of 1858) keeping guard before guiding those hidden there to the next stop. Church of the Master now occupies this site. The Hanby house was moved to 162 West Home Street (the area between the Otterbein football field and North West Street) where it deteriorated to the point of demolition. It was saved by Dacia Custer Shoemaker, Otterbein Class of 1895, who as a child lived two doors east of Lambert Hall at 89 West College Avenue. Darcia was delivered at birth by Dr. William Otterbein Hanby, son of Reverend Hanby. (Her father was Dr. Isaac Newton Custer, a prominent dentist who as a child lived in the same eastern Ohio house as first cousin George Armstrong Custer of battlefield fame.) Moved again, the Hanby House is now located at 160 West Main Street across from Otterbein’s Science Center. It’s owned by the Ohio History Connection, operated as a museum by the Westerville Historical Society, and recognized by the National Park Service Network to Freedom as a significant Underground Railroad site.

Today’s Church of the Master opened in 1916 as First Church of the United Brethren in Christ. The congregation had previously been meeting in the chapel at Otterbein, the first collegiate institution established by the United Brethren denomination.  A headline on the front page of the April 8, 1915, edition read “CHOOSE GRAY BRICK. New U.B. Church to Be Matched in Color with Carnegie Library.” In its early years the pastors assigned to the church rotated among Otterbein faculty and staff. Students attended chapel services, and commencements were held in the sanctuary. Obviously these two parcels of ground spanning West College Avenue to West Main Street share a rich history and association.

The Westerville Public Opinion newspaper follows the progress…

  • Public Opinion April 6, 1905. Headline reads: “CARNEGIE LIBRARY. Iron Master Makes Gift of $20,000.” President Lewis Bookwalter announces that the previous day the following letter was received: “Dear Sir: Mr. Carnegie desires me to say that he will be glad to pay for the erection of a library building at a cost of $20,000 provided that the amount of $20,000 new endowment is raised toward the upkeeping and carrying on of the library. Respectfully yours, James Bertram, Secretary.”
  • Public Opinion November 1, 1906. Announcement is made that the library will be located at West College Avenue and Grove Street and that construction will begin summer 1907. Also reported is that Dr. Erwin S. Chapman, “distinguished orator…personally acquainted with many of the leaders of the nation”, will give a lecture in the chapel for the purpose of raising funds for books. He will match the amount raised as he “is so deeply interested in the Otterbein library.” Chapman was Superintendent of the Anti-Saloon League of California and once spoke to 600 ministers in October 1906 about “liquor trafficking.” Also speaking at that event was Reverend Howard Hyde Russell, Superintendent of the Anti-Saloon League of New York and founder of the League. Russell later moved to Westerville and built a stately residence at 79 South Grove Street that is now owned and occupied by Pi Kappa Phi Fraternity.
  • Public Opinion January 17, 1907. Announcement is made that a hall of music and art will be built across the street from the new library. “The sites for these two fine buildings are the very best that could be secured as they face the front campus of the university.”
  • Public Opinion January 31, 1907. The architect is announced with a headline reading “Architect Frank L. Packard Has Prepared a Most Satisfactory Set of Plans…”. The architecture will be Doric.
  • Public Opinion July 25, 1907. It is announced that “well known Westerville contractor” Henry Karg submitted the winning bid and that “the building is sure to be one of the finest and most complete small libraries in the country.” Also announced is that construction of the foundation of the music and art hall across the street will begin before winter with occupancy by September 1908. (Karg was the contractor for this building as well.)
  • Public Opinion August 1, 1907. Pictured in this edition of the PO are Packard’s design of the exterior front and a blueprint of the first floor. It is further announced that “Contractor Karg and his force of men armed with a large battering ram made quick work of the old conservatory of music building at the corner of College Avenue and Grove Street in clearing up the site for the new Carnegie library.”
  • Public Opinion November 14, 1907. “READY FOR ROOF” reads the headline. It is noted that architect Packard “was especially desirous of securing the maximum room in the building of that size” and “Contractor Karg has been especially successful in carrying out not only the details of the architect but he has carried out his spirit also.”
  • Public Opinion June 11, 1908. Carnegie Library is dedicated Tuesday, June 9.

Otterbein’s Carnegie

Otterbein history keepers had the foresight to archive the original blueprints of the exterior front and interior first floor. While there is no basement blueprint known to exist, there are descriptions of the basement in two 1907 editions of the Public Opinion (January 31 and August 7). Otterbein also has a sketch of the 1950 look of both levels made from memory by an alumnus. The May 31, 1908, Annual Report of the Secretary and Treasurer shows a payment of $424.50 to the architect (equal to $12,000 in 2020).

The architecture of the exterior has been called Doric (by the Public Opinion as previously mentioned), Second Renaissance Revival (by an Ohio Historical Society inventory of 1975), and Neo-Classical Revival by the National Register of Historic Places. Based on Theodore Jones’ Carnegie Libraries Across America, it appears a more descriptive style might be Beaux-Arts Carnegie Classical. The exterior is original…even including the front steps. Exceptions are the roof, windows (interior framework was retained), front door and signage which have all been updated.

Most of the space on the first floor was devoted to a reading room on the east side and a study room on the west side that included a view of the campus. Each of these rooms had a fireplace. The rear room housed book stacks topped with a half story of additional stacks. Today the footprint has been altered to accommodate offices. Original configurations and finishes still exist including the wooden stairway to the basement, the vestibule and lobby, the large open east room with fireplace, the librarian’s office (which I once occupied as Director of Financial Aid), the metal back stairway to the half story stacks, the steam radiators, the woodwork, and the lobby domed skylights to which one is drawn upon entering. Oddly, neither of the Public Opinion articles mentioned the skylights which are the only extravagance of the building. Abigail A. Van, in her book Free to All: Carnegie Libraries & American Culture, wrote: “When you entered, you climbed up. In many of the early [Carnegie libraries], there would be a dome overhead with a skylight. You showed your worthiness by climbing to enlightenment.”

The basement consisted of a work room on the east side beneath the reading room above it and a lecture room on the west side beneath the study room above it. Both had a fireplace although neither exist today. The middle hallway lead to a restroom on either side and then to a supplemental stacks area beneath the main stacks area above it. A back stairway, no longer there, connected them. Today the basement is office space. Original construction includes the center hallway, wood trim, the restrooms and the rear exterior entryway.

The sketch drawn by the alumnus shows seating for approximately 75 in 1950. As mentioned, the library opened in 1908 and Packard died in 1923. Housed at the Otterbein Archives is a second Carnegie Library blueprint with architect Packard’s name affixed showing additions to both the east and west sides of the building. During that short span of 15 years the facility was quickly outgrown, and this fact was mentioned repeatedly in campus news publications.

While researching local history the past couple of years, I’ve had some fun and rewarding discoveries that just jumped out at me. “BRONZE TABLET” on the front page of the June 6, 1907, edition of the Public Opinion certainly did. The article appears to be the only known documentation that library architect Frank Packard also designed a bronze tablet that a year later would be installed in the Carnegie lobby. It commemorates the memory of Benjamin R. Hanby with the first phrase of the refrain of his song “Darling Nellie Gray.” The tablet arrived just in time for Commencement. Mary Kathryn “Kate” Winter Hanby, widow of Benjamin, traveled from her home in California to attend the unveiling and the 50th anniversary of her 1857 graduation from Otterbein (Otterbein’s first two graduates were women: Kate and Sarah Jane Miller). Today, the tablet is still in place…and for awhile was just steps from the Hanby House next door where the music etched on it was written.

In 2002, Carnegie Libraries of Ohio was published. Here is what author Mary Ellen Armentrout added to her description of Otterbein’s Carnegie: “This library and college hold particular sentimental interest to me. I attended Otterbein College 1962-1966 and remember going to this building to register for classes, pay my tuition, and collect my work-study paychecks. This was long before I attended library school and contemplated a Carnegie library project. In 1987 I returned to my alma mater to work as a librarian and begin this project. I am very thankful to Otterbein College for giving me a rewarding educational experience.” Today Mary Ellen is a volunteer at the Otterbein Thrift Shop.

The Carnegie Architect

Architect Frank L. Packard’s career spanned approximately 34 years and ended suddenly when he passed away from a cerebral hemorrhage on October 26, 1923, at the age of 57. Numerous accounts of his life mention that he was involved in over 3400 designs many of which were public structures such as courthouses, hospitals, libraries, schools and university buildings. He also designed churches and residences including the Craftsman style house of which he was particularly fond. Initially, Packard was self-employed and Fair Avenue School in Columbus may have been his first design in 1890 at age 24. He and Joseph W. Yost soon formed the partnership Yost & Packard which designed significant buildings not just within their Central Ohio base, but throughout Ohio as well. Yost moved to New York after 1900 while Packard and his associates remained in Columbus.

Packard designs can readily be found via web searches. Unfortunately, there is no complete list of what he designed after the Yost & Packard partnership ended. A very small portion of familiar area examples include the old Ohio Governor’s Mansion on East Broad Street, Columbus North and Worthington high schools, the Granville Inn, the front porch addition to the Warren Harding home made famous in Harding’s “front porch campaign”, and houses in the prestigious Marble Cliff neighborhood of Columbus. Here are two examples of his noteworthy design categories:

  • high schools in Ada, Ashtabula, Castalia, Cedarville, Chillicothe, Circleville, Coshocton, East Liverpool, Gahanna, Gallipolis, Granville, Hamilton, Hilliard, Ironton, Lima, Lisbon, Logan, Marysville, McArthur, Miamisburg, Millersburg, New Paris, New Philadelphia, Newark, Painesville, Pomeroy, Shelby, Sidney, Tiffin, Tipp City, Troy, Upper Arlington, Urbana, Van Wert, Wapakoneta, and West Liberty
  • Andrew Carnegie-funded libraries in Athens, Cambridge, Miamisburg, Middleport, Norwalk, Oxford (Miami University), Upper Sandusky, Westerville (Otterbein University), and Washington Court House…and amazingly all of these still stand. These are pictured in the blog linked below.


In the November 1, 1923, edition of the Public Opinion that followed Packard’s passing, it was noted that “he was well known by many Westerville people.” Indeed he likely was. By that time, the firm of Yost & Packard had designed the Hotel Holmes (now Uptown Pharmacy and other businesses), the Y.M.C.A. “Association” building on Otterbein’s campus (now the site of Roush Hall), Vine Street School (now Emerson Elementary School), the home of Professor William J. Zuck (now the east parking lot of the Campus Center), and an addition to the North State Street home of George W. Meeker. Post Yost’s departure, Packard designed St. Paul Evangelical Lutheran Church followed by a two-story addition to the rear of Vine Street School. Packard’s Westerville connection and portfolio will be the subject of additional blogs…shorter in length. 😊

Packard and his wife are buried in the Packard Mausoleum which he designed at Green Lawn Cemetery in Columbus. A byline on TouringOhio.com reads “The man who designed his own tomb.”

The Carnegie Contractor

Contractor Henry J. Karg came to Westerville in 1905 to construct the First National Bank/Bale & Walker Hardware building at the northeast corner of State and College (now Westerville Antiques + Revamped Decor). Previously, this Leesville, Ohio, native (Crawford County) had been self-employed as a stone mason in Fostoria, Ohio. Fostoria was the home of Fostoria Academy, a partnership between the community and the United Brethren Church. Per Otterbein publications the Record and the Aegis, at least 6 academy faculty and the academy principal were Otterbein alumni including Allen George Crouse whose father Isaac was instrumental in having the academy located in Fostoria. The superintendent of schools and the pastor of the United Brethren Church in Fostoria were also Otterbein alumni. While it is yet to be discovered whether the 5 Karg children attended the academy, the siblings of their mother Mary Violet (Flick) Karg did. It’s likely the Otterbein faculty influenced their decision to attend and graduate from Otterbein University between 1891 and 1906 (Alexander Flick ’94, Bertha Flick ’98, Carlton Flick ’06) . Due to continued financial difficulties and a devastating fire in 1904, Fostoria Academy closed. It seems logical that the academy/church associations in Fostoria influenced the Karg family relocation to Westerville in 1905. Incidentally, Allen George Crouse retired to Westerville and replaced a house at 48 West College Avenue with a new one of his own just a few houses east of the Carnegie Library. His wife’s father previously operated an iron foundry at the rear of that property which was a station on the Underground Railroad. Today the house is owned and occupied by Zeta Phi Fraternity.

Karg has received little notice in Westerville history despite what should be regarded as a prolific career of accomplishments including the 1906-1909 building boom at Otterbein. Here, he built the Phillip G. Cochran Memorial Hall, Carnegie Library, Lambert Memorial Music and Art Hall and the heating plant. Just down the street from the Carnegie, he built First Presbyterian Church. Other builds were the Bank of Westerville in the Uptown (now Emerald Bank), his Westerville Garage car dealership (the first in town), a factory on East Broadway Avenue, a cement block factory operated by his son located at East Lincoln Street and the railroad tracks, and the two-story addition to Vine Street (Emerson) School designed by Packard.

Karg’s two Westerville Packard-designed builds were not his only affiliation with the prominent architect. He also built Miami University’s Carnegie-funded Alumni Library,  First Presbyterian Church of Urbana, Collingwood Avenue Presbyterian Church of Toledo, and a Craftsman-style house in Washington Court House. Just as Packard seemed to have an affinity for designing high schools, Karg seemed to have the same for building them. They include: Bowling Green, Hebron, Martinsville, Nelsonville, Norwood, Piqua, Washington Court House, West Alexandria, and Wilmington.

In declining health, Karg began spending winters in Florida around 1915. The five Karg children, four of whom graduated from Otterbein, eventually moved elsewhere. The Karg family home at 201 South State Street and the farm behind it stretching west to Otterbein Cemetery were sold to Ernest Cherrington, editor of The American Issue which was the prolific publishing arm of the Anti-Saloon League. Cherrington developed housing lining a boulevard he named Glenwood. The Karg house was retained and sold to brothers Clarence, Clifford, and William Johnson. William, known as “Pussyfoot” Johnson, travelled extensively championing the Prohibition movement for the Anti-Saloon League (a Wikipedia page defines the nickname and more). Karg, his wife, and two of the children are buried at Otterbein Cemetery. A pictorial of his career is addressed in a separate blog.

The First Carnegie Librarian

In 1877 Colonel Milton Barnes was elected Ohio’s Secretary of State and relocated his family from Cambridge to Columbus. Upon serving two successive terms, he moved the family to Westerville where daughter Tirza Lydia enrolled in classes at Otterbein in the fall of 1881. Upon her graduation four years later, Tirza began a teaching career in Michigan that eventually lead back to Otterbein in 1890 where she assumed a dual role of faculty member and library assistant. When the Carnegie Library opened in 1908, Tirza became the first full-time Otterbein librarian. She is credited with introducing the closed reserve system and re-cataloging the book collection with the Dewey Decimal Classification system. By her retirement in 1934, the library had grown from a starting inventory of 10,335 volumes to an overcapacity of 35,000 thus rendering the facility inadequate.

In 1938 Tirza moved to her widowed sister’s home in California and passed away there in 1950. Maude Barnes Gantz, Otterbein Class of 1898, later wrote the following for the alumni series The Spirit of Otterbein: “She was much interested always in the individual students and their problems from college work and finances to love affairs and character building. Many times she helped students financially who went to advanced schools for the additional degrees winning lasting appreciation for her help. Quietly she lived and conscientiously she worked getting a rich reward as she saw class after class go out into the world stronger and richer for the influence of the years in Otterbein.” The complete document written of Tirza by her sister Maude can be accessed at the Otterbein Digital Commons: https://digitalcommons.otterbein.edu/archives_spirit/3/

The Barnes family resided at 90 East College Avenue near the railroad. The house still stands today. Tirza took possession of it in 1921 after the passing of her mother. One can picture her walking to the Carnegie Library just three blocks to the west. She is buried at Otterbein Cemetery, just three blocks to the south of the Carnegie Library. It is interesting to note that at the passing of former Secretary of State Colonel Barnes, Governor (later President) William McKinley attended the funeral held in the family home.

The Carnegie Library Dedication Ceremony

Among those participating on Tuesday, June 9, 1908:

  • Samuel J. Flickinger, Otterbein Class of 1872. Per the Thursday June 11 edition of the Public Opinion, Governor Andrew L. Harris was unable to attend. Flickinger was likely a very capable substitute. He was a long-time editor of the Ohio State Journal which, per the Ohio History Connection, was “Ohio’s paper of record for much of the 19th and 20th centuries.” Later, this newspaper became the Columbus Citizen-Journal. Hometown newspaper The Hamilton Daily News noted his passing in March 1929 with a large bold front-page headline and referred to him as the “dean of Ohio newspaper men.”
  • Edgar L. Weinland, Otterbein Class of 1891. Weinland, chair of the Building Committee, presented the ceremonial keys. He was City Solicitor (attorney) for Columbus, long-time Assistant Attorney General for the State of Ohio, and longest serving Otterbein trustee at 57 years. In recognition of his being a driving force in the annexation of land for a public park just east of the Short North, Weinland Park bears his name. Today, the neighborhood surrounding it has also taken on his name. Weinland Park Elementary School is named after the park. His boyhood home is just down the street from the Carnegie Library at 63 West College Avenue. (At one time it housed Zeta Phi Fraternity.) Both Frank Packard and Weinland were heavily involved in Columbus civic endeavors. It’s likely their paths crossed many times starting as early as Weinland’s senior year at Otterbein in 1890-91 when he was president of the Philomathea Literary Society and Packard was designing the remodel of the Society’s meeting room. Packard also designed Weinland’s house at 428 West Sixth Avenue just west of the Short North. Mary Weinland Crumrine, Class of 1907 and sister of Edgar, was the librarian of the Carnegie Library from 1939-1954. The first Otterbein librarian to hold a professional library degree, she initiated accumulation of college memorabilia and publications of alumni authors.
  • Chief Justice of the Ohio Supreme Court John A. Shauck, Otterbein Class of 1866. Judge Shauck, who served on the Supreme Court for 13 years, gave the remarks. At the time of his death he was president of the Ohio State Bar Association and was a partner with Edgar Weinland in a private law practice. Per the September 1893 issue of the Aegis, Shauck and his family briefly lived in the Mossman house on West College Avenue, the same street as the Carnegie Library. The address has not yet been discovered. Shauck’s sister Ellen was the mother of Edgar Weinland.
  • Board of Trustees Chair Frederick H. Rike, Otterbein Class of 1888. Rike, president of the Rike-Kumler Company of Dayton, accepted the ceremonial keys. His father, David L. Rike, founded the company and was a former Trustee Chair/long-time supporter of Otterbein. Rike’s Department Stores, equivalent in stature to Lazarus Department Stores of Columbus, are now part of Macy’s. At least 11 Kumlers attended Otterbein.
  • Charles B. Galbreath. The Public Opinion reported that Galbreath, State Librarian “made a very able address on libraries.” Later in his career he was Secretary and Librarian at the Ohio Archaeological and Historical Society (now the Ohio History Connection). Galbreath helped raise the funds to restore and move the Hanby House to West Main Street.
  • Rev. William Otterbein Fries. Rev. Fries, a Lebanon Valley College alumnus who provided the invocation, arrived at Otterbein in the fall of 1893 to serve on the faculty (teaching Christian Evidences) and as college pastor. Previously he was pastor of Fostoria United Brethren Church at which time the Karg family was living in that same city. Rev. Fries was the speaker at the March 29, 1915, cornerstone laying at the United Brethren Church next door to the Carnegie Library. An interesting note is that Rev. Fries first cousin, Rev. John Newton “Jay” Fries, co-founded a private school in Virginia which was named Shenandoah. In 1884, it was acquired by the Virginia Conference of the United Brethren Church and today is Shenandoah University. “Jay” Fries received his degree from Otterbein in 1876. The other co-founder was Abram P. Funkhouser, Otterbein Class of 1882. He later served a year (1906) as president of Lebanon Valley College, founded by the United Brethren Church. Funkhouser Hall on that campus is named for him. The College’s Keister Hall is named for the Rev. Lawrence Keister, also of the Otterbein Class of 1882, who served as president in 1907.
  • The father/son duo of Rev. George A. Funkhouser, Otterbein Class of 1868 and Luther Kumler Funkhouser, Otterbein Class of 1908. Rev. Funkhouser presented the benediction and, per the Public Opinion, Luther presented “a fine marble clock” on behalf of the graduating class of 1908. The clock still exists, has been moved to another campus location. It was featured on the cover of the Fall 1988 Towers magazine.

Carnegie Library Becomes Clippinger Administration Building

In the June 1945 issue of Towers, a centennial fund-raising campaign was announced that included a new library building. The plan evolved into a combined auditorium/chapel/library to be located at the northeast corner of Grove and Park Streets (now the site of Cowan Hall). Eventually a free-standing library was deemed not within financial reach. Instead, the chapel at the rear of Towers Hall was removed and converted to library stacks. A two-story addition was added onto the back of the converted space. Centennial Library opened in 1953 and Carnegie Library closed.

Otterbein requested and received permission from the Carnegie Corporation to convert the old library space to house administrative offices and to rename the building. Dr. Jacob S. Gruver, Otterbein Class of 1898 and a Board of Trustees member, made a generous gift to this undertaking with the stipulation that the building be named Clippinger in honor of Dr. Walter Gillan Clippinger. During the summer of 1954, all of these offices made the move to Clippinger Administration Building: Advancement, Alumni/Public Relations, and Treasurer to the basement; President, Vice-President, Dean of Women, Director of Admissions, and Registrar to the first floor.

Today, Clippinger Administration Building is called Clippinger Hall since the only administrative office housed there now is the Office of Admission. It is interesting to note that of the 90 remaining mostly repurposed Carnegie academic libraries, there is a second that is an admission office…at Lebanon Valley College…and Otterbein’s Carnegie is now named after a Lebanon Valley alumnus, Walter G. Clippinger.

Clippinger, who was President of Otterbein from 1909 to 1939, is credited with putting the college on a sound financial basis and leading it through the Depression without major loss of endowment. Alumni Gymnasium, McFadden Science Hall, and King Hall were built during his administration.

Upon his retirement, Clippinger purchased and moved to 115 University Street where he remained until shortly before his passing on September 30, 1948. This stunning Craftsman-style house, at the edge of Otterbein Cemetery, was built in 1914 by an official of the Anti-Saloon League. Clippinger was president of the League’s Ohio chapter.

Senior member of the faculty Alzo P. Rosselot (Otterbein Class of 1905) wrote in the March 1949 issue of Towers: “There was a personal reserve about President Clippinger which was that of a Christian gentleman. This reserve covered a warm heart and an enduring friendship for those who came within its circle. He was a delightful friend.” The Columbus Dispatch wrote the day after Clippinger passed: “…he kept Otterbein in the van of progress, yet at the same time held fast to the ideas which always stamped it as a school to which parents could send their children in confidence that the atmosphere would be Christian and wholesome.”

Both Pennsylvania natives, Dr Clippinger and his wife Sara Roop Clippinger are buried at Otterbein Cemetery.

Viewed from the front lawn of the old Carnegie Library today, here is the Westerville history one sees:

  • Hanby House. Added to the National Register of Historic Places in 1970.
  • Towers Hall. Added to the National Register of Historic Places in 1971.
  • Howard House, 131 West Park. Built by Rev. Purley A. Baker, national superintendent of the Anti-Saloon League.  After his death, it served from 1930 to 1933 as the first location of the Westerville Public Library…and thus both libraries in town were within eyesight of each other. Today Howard House anchors the northeast corner of the Temperance Row Historic District which was added to the National Register of Historic Places in 2008.
  • Otterbein Cemetery. Final resting place of Tirza Barnes, Walter Clippinger, Benjamin Hanby, William Hanby, Henry Karg, and Edgar Weinland. The cemetery’s mausoleum was added to the National Register of Historic Places in 1979.
  • Custer House, 89 West College Avenue.
  • Weinland House, 63 West College Avenue.
  • Uptown Westerville Historic District. Added to the National Register of Historic Places in 2019.
  • Original brick streets on both sides of the Carnegie Library.

Published 2/3/2021. Don Foster, Otterbein Class of 1973. donfoster73@gmail.com

Carnegie Library, dedicated June 9, 1908.
Andrew Carnegie’s gift is announced.
The site before construction, a station on the Underground Railroad. This was the home of Otterbein President Lewis Davis, a founder of the University and considered the father of education of the United Brethren Church. Donated to Otterbein in 1888 to house the
Davis Conservatory of Music.
I found this on the web and think it provides a good short summary of the UGRR.
Hanby family home which is now the site of Church of the Master next door to the Carnegie Library. The barn on the right was part of the Underground Railroad. This house was moved to 162 West Home Street and then moved once more to today’s location of 160 West Main Street.
The LIbrary Fund column at the bottom right shows disbursements in 1908 to contractor H. Karg and architect F.L. Packard.
Frank L. Packard’s selection as the architect is announced above and below.
Henry Karg is announced as contractor.
While searching digitized issues of the Columbus Dispatch, I was stunned to see a Packard Carnegie library design so similar to his Otterbein design. The citizens of Jackson, Ohio, were not able raise the matching amount required by Carnegie so the building was not constructed. The postcard has Packard’s name as architect in the bottom right corner. It’s rare to find one with an architect’s name.
Collector’s refer to a postcard such as the one above as a “RPPC” (Real Photo Postcard). They are highly prized. I think I found this at a local postcard show years ago. In November of 2020, I acquired the colorized version below of that same postcard from an ebay dealer in Canada.
Otterbein was required to match Andrew Carnegie’s gift of $20,000 with an equal amount. The above article appeared in the 5/28/1906 issue of The Otterbein Weekly which had the shortest life of any student publication at 13 weeks. The Keister brothers, assuming all four donated, would have been Abraham Lincoln Keister (Class of 1874), Benjamin Franklin Keister (Class of 1875), Fenton Oliver Keister (Class of 1880), and Lawrence Keister (Class of 1882). Sarah B. Cochran also funded Cochran Hall…in its entirety.
Student Luther Funkhouser, mentioned above, presented a clock for the new building at the dedication ceremony. Below he describes President Davis’ house that previously sat on the site. The clock is pictured below, too.
Edgar Weinland, Chair of the Building Committee, was likely involved in the selection of Packard as architect. He will be the subject of a separate blog.
There are very few photographs of the interior of the library in the Otterbein Archives. Perhaps this blog may lead to some that will be donated.
This photograph is part of a scrapbook dated 1916 that was donated to the Otterbein Archives. The fireplace in the background has long since been covered. The portrait above the fireplace is that of the Rev. Dr. Henry Garst, Otterbein Class of 1861 and Otterbein President 1886-89.
Today the portrait is on display in the University Archives.
This painting of the library lobby appears in the 1924 issue of the Sibyl yearbook. It may be the work of Clara Garrison Bosman, Otterbein Class of 1915. There are references in the February 1917 issues of the Aegis and the Record of Clara’s having painted an oil of the libray interior.
The library regulations per the Tan and Cardinal of 2/5/1923.
Otterbein Archives sketch of the main and basement levels drawn by an unknown alumnus in
After the above Frank Packard surprising discovery in the Public Opinion of 6/6/1907, three years later I found a similar reference in The Columbus Dispatch of 6/9/1907 below.
Otterbein’s first full-time librarian…and librarian of the Carnegie Library from its 1908 opening until retirement in 1938.
Family home of the Barnes, 90 East College Avenue, as it appears today. It is located near the intersection of College and Vine as shown below.
Governor (and later President) William McKinley attended the funeral of Tirza’a father held at the
East College Avenue home. The article is from
The Columbus Dispatch of 6/3/1895. It mentions Tirza was lady principal at the time as explained by an issue of the campus newspaper below. The dormitory referred to is Saum Hall which no longer stands.
Tribute to Tirza Lydia Barnes by Dr. Thomas J. Sanders, president of Otterbein 1891-1901.
Mary, sister of Edgar Weinland, was the first Otterbein librarian to hold a professional library degree. Served from 1939 to 1954. Below is her letter requesting the position.
As reported by the Columbus Citizen (later renamed Citizen-Journal) in the 6/9/1908 edition, a reunion of Otterbein students who served in the Union army was held the morning of the Carnegie Library dedication.
A couple of pictures (above and below) with the library as background.
West College Avenue street scenes.
The brick street pavers have survived to this day. From The Otterbein Weekly of 6/4/1906.
As indicated above, the brick on the church next door was matched as closely as possible to the library. The brick house pictured in the postcard below that had replaced the Hanby house was moved on rollers to the rear of the property. It was later razed for a church parking lot.
Rendering of Centennial Library which replaced Carnegie Library. Otterbein Towers March 1953.
President Clippinger tribute, Otterbein Towers March 1949.
The building, above and below, as it appears today.
Radiators still doing their job.
It’s much easier to remember the Otterbein architecture as Carnegie Classical vs Beaux Arts or Neo-Classical Revival…so I go with that. Here’s another example of that same popular design used by many different architects. This one is in Ladysmith, Wisconsin…and as it appears today.
Author Mary Ellen Armentrout, Otterbein Class of 1966.
Mary Ellen’s follow-up publication includes interviews with 31 adults who reflect on their childhood years as frequenters of their hometown Carnegie libraries. And the book’s title as explained in the introduction: I knew at some point in the project the title of the book would come to me. It did early on in the interview of Sheila Sullivan McIntyre about the Algona, Iowa, library. She said: “We always knew when Miss Annis was coming because she was knock kneed and her stockings sang.” It was perfect and captured the essence of the book.
I wish the passing of the “ELECTRICAL WIZARD” had been announced on another page or in another issue. Attention is kind of drawn to the right side of the newspaper. 🙂
The Ohio History Connection’s May/June 2021 issue of Echoes announcing the addition of the library to the National Register of Historic Places.


  1. Sara Elberfeld Deever says:

    So grateful to you for preserving these memories: your words, excellent documentation and the many photos.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Mary Ellen Armentrout says:

    Wonderful exhaustive research on the Carnegie. Kudos on getting the the National Trust designation!

    Liked by 1 person

  3. colleenkasson says:

    Fantastic information! I love all the pictures especially the picture of the Glee Club/Banjo Orchestra. Sounds like a fun group. Even though it was a challenge to work with Wikipedia I am happy that the List of Carnegie Libraries in Ohio now has a complete list of pictures.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. jeffkasson says:

    Don – I can’t tell you how much I admire your love of history, ability to tell a story and great dedication and skill in researching these truly fascinating subjects. It brings it alive for me, and I imagine myself as a bystander in olde Westerville in a bygone era. I hope you continue to have enthusiasm and energy to create more of these. More people in Westerville and Otterbein alumni need to find this blog. I know they would truly admire your work! I can’t wait for the next nugget of Westerville to appear in your blog. Great work, and thank you.


Leave a Comment

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s