The Naegeli building was initially built as a Carnegie Library; it was known as “The Eastside Branch.” The East Side Branch Library was built in 1913 with funds provided by United States philanthropist, Andrew Carnegie, and is a tangible testament of his world-wide influence. Carnegie would gift roughly 2,500 libraries in his lifetime, which helped greatly accelerate library development in America. Spokane’s East Side Branch Library is an exemplary model of the building type known as the “Carnegie library.” The structure was designed by prominent Spokane architect, Mr. Albert Held, and was built by Spokane contractor, Galbraith & Sons. For 66 years from 1913 to 1979, the East Side Branch Library served the East Central community and residents in the Spokane Valley. During its period of significance from 1913 to 1954, the property acted an educational center, community hub and was the second of four Carnegie libraries built in Spokane.
Built on the corner of First Avenue and Altamont Street in the Union Park neighborhood of East Central Spokane, the East Side Branch of the Spokane Public Library is a well-preserved example of the “Carnegie library.” The library is a one-story brick masonry building with a raised foundation and a low-pitched hip roof. Formality of design is established through Neoclassical-style influence which is emphasized by the building’s symmetrical fenestration patterns, brick cladding and center front entrance. Regarded as a focal point of the building, the front entrance is accentuated with classic columns, pilasters and a pediment.
The Carnegie Corporation allotted $17,500 to construct this beautiful structure and the City Council appropriated $2000 toward the purchase of the one-third acre site. The corner stone of the building was laid on November 22, 1913 by a prominent Spokane woman, Ms. House. Much care was taken in laying out the grounds of the building to ensure that the library would be a beautiful focal point of the neighborhood, as well as a strong social and educational center.
According to a historic nomination prepared by Ms. Linda Yeomans of Spokane, the branch library opened to the public on April 4, 1914, with a ceremony that included violin solos and meditations. Carnegie was credited with providing $17,500 for the cost of construction and furnishings. The library was stocked with 6,000 volumes.
The library included a large area for organizations to enjoy; clubs and groups of young and old citizens took advantage of the privilege. As The Naegeli Building has entered the 21st Century and is over 100 years old, it remains an imposing and majestic structure in the community. The building continues to look as it did when it was first built and retains exceptional historic integrity. The Naegeli Building will always be maintained in such a manner that its original essence and integrity will be preserved.
Fresh signage was just unveiled on the Naegeli Deposition and Trial property at 25 South Altamont in Spokane, Washington just in time for summer. The new signs culminate a nearly nine-month planning process and it is clear the gorgeous historic Spokane building just got a mini facelift with the 2 new sumptuous granite signs.
The brick landmark, and former Carnegie Library near Interstate 90, stands as a reminder of the proud history of this working-class neighborhood.
Marsha Naegeli, CEO and founder of Naegeli Deposition and Trial, said “We feel it is a very positive addition aesthetically to our restored 1913 Carnegie Library and that this will position Naegeli for unprecedented growth in the Spokane region.”
“I love yesteryear, the grandeur of yesterday,” Naegeli said in an interview via a videoconference established inside the branch office. “The elegant surroundings weren’t necessarily intended to impress our clients. Rather, I want my employees working in a pleasant and inspiring place.”
Naegeli, of Tillamook, OR, bought the building in 2006 and spent $300,000 to renovate and restore it. Much of the work was done on the interior where richly colored woodwork and walls offer an Italian Renaissance style complemented by dramatic light fixtures, artwork and other fine furnishings. Together, the effect is elegant.