carnegie

Carnegie Library
Corner of E. Main Street and S. Russell Ave.

In 1909, Andrew Carnegie donated $7,500 to fund the construction of the Neo-Classical library located just a block off the town square. Carnegie was once the richest man in the world. Coming as a dirt-poor kid from Scotland to America, by the 1880s he had built an empire in steel through a combination of business acumen and an iron fist.  He then proceeded to give all his wealth away.  $60 million went to funding a system of 1,689 public libraries across the country.  In Brownsville, the library was operated by the city, which had to raise money for books, salaries and maintenance. The building also housed the first public restroom in town. By the late 1950s, the library was added to the Tennessee regional library system and was re-named Brownsville-Haywood County Library. The library relocated in 1992. The following year the building was restored and now serves as offices for the Brownsville Chamber of Commerce.

The Mindfield