Students’ 2003 report inspires restoration of historic library

David Woodcock

The once-deteriorating Carnegie library in Franklin, Texas, whose restoration was inspired by a 2003 report created by graduate building preservation technology students at Texas A&M, hosted a celebration of its 100th anniversary Jan. 14, 2014.

Led by David Woodcock, professor of architecture who retired in 2011, the report included an analysis of the building’s condition, recommendations for exterior and interior work, funding options for the building’s restoration and a history of the building. Woodcock, who joined the Texas A&M faculty in 1962, is director emeritus of the Center for Heritage Conservation, which he established in 1991 as the Historic Resources Imaging Laboratory. 

With the report as an impetus, Friends of the Carnegie Library formed in the spring of 2004 to begin fundraising for the preservation and restoration of the library, which is on the National Register of Historic Places and is a Texas Historic Landmark.

“It is always good when a project from a class in preservation technology supports local initiatives that draw attention to a community asset that has been undervalued and seems destined to ‘disappear into unrecorded oblivion,’ to quote one of the founders of preservation in the United States,” said Woodcock.

“The former students are as proud as I am that their study helped pave the way for the celebration.”

Franklin’s Carnegie library was one of more than 1,600 libraries built in the U.S. with funds from one of 19th century railroad and steel magnate Andrew Carnegie’s philanthropic foundations.

posted January 29, 2014