LPC Designates The Tremont Branch Of The New York Public Library In The Bronx

Published on March 05, 2024, 1:09 pm
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Today, the New York City Landmarks Preservation Commission (LPC) voted unanimously to designate the Tremont branch of The New York Public Library (NYPL) as an individual landmark, an elegant and impressively intact Carnegie library that has played a significant role in community of the Bronx neighborhood of Tremont for 118 years.

The Tremont Library is located at 1866 Washington Avenue in the Bronx, a corner brick building built in 1905 and designed in the Classical Revival style. It is one of 67 circulating libraries constructed for New York City’s three library systems in the early 20th century and funded by a grant from the steel magnate Andrew Carnegie around the turn of the century. The branch is a pristine example of the libraries designed by the prominent firm of Carrère and Hastings, who were responsible for 14 Carnegie-funded NYPL branch buildings citywide, including The New York Public Library’s historic main branch, the Stephen A. Schwarzman Building on 42nd Street and Fifth Avenue – also an individual and interior landmark. With the designation of the Tremont Library, LPC has now designated all five of the intact Carnegie libraries in the Bronx that remain within the New York Public Library system.

“Through this designation, the Landmarks Preservation Commission continues to fulfill its pledge to ensure diversity and inclusion in its work,” said Deputy Mayor for Housing, Economic Development, and Workforce Maria Torres-Springer. “LPC has now designated all five of the intact Carnegie libraries in the Bronx and I thank them for continuing to prioritize and advance designations in areas less well represented by landmarks.”

“The New York Public Library’s Tremont branch is a classically-inspired Carnegie library, designed by the firm Carrère and Hastings in a distinctive architectural style to be recognizable to all New Yorkers at the turn of the century – a symbol of learning and opportunity that was open to all,” said Landmarks Preservation Commission Chair Sarah Carroll. “Today’s designation is a tribute to this remarkable library, its dedicated staff, and the Tremont community, and reflects the Commission’s ongoing commitment to recognizing the rich history of the Bronx as told through the historic buildings and sites located across the borough.”

“The New York Public Library’s Tremont branch has served the community for over a century, offering endless opportunities for New Yorkers to advocate for themselves and their education,” said Anthony W. Marx, President of The New York Public Library. “As one of our original Carnegie libraries designed by Carrère and Hastings, the Tremont Library is a shining example of New York City’s past, present, and future. We thank the Landmarks Preservation Commission for designating this historic building a New York City landmark, which recognizes the vital and important role the library plays in the community.”

“The landmarking of the Tremont Library shows the city’s commitment to preserving important cultural institutions and the Tremont Library is a pristine example, having supported the local community for nearly 120 years,” said Bronx Borough President Vanessa L. Gibson. “I want to thank LPC Chair Sarah Carroll and the Commission for the preservation of this important site and commitment to ensuring that the Bronx’s rich history, diverse narratives, and the contributions of all its residents are celebrated and preserved for generations to come.”

The Tremont neighborhood of the Bronx has served as home to numerous immigrant groups since the 1880s, and the Tremont Library has responded to the evolving needs of its local community with innovative programming. In 1908, the Tremont Library established one of the first girls reading clubs in the NYPL branch system, and Tremont librarians have maintained a strong connection to the community in the years since, meeting regularly with students, helping young people set up groups for reading and film clubs, teaching classes to young children and English to new immigrants, and holding meetings for community members.

The Tremont Library has been heavily involved with multilingual education and literacy for the neighborhood since its early years. Tremont librarians suggested new ideas for programs and methods to better reach non-native English speakers and recorded their insights on the advantages the library provided to immigrants learning English.  In the 1950s, Tremont became the foremost branch library for books, literature, and programs on Jewish culture, history, and the Hebrew and Yiddish languages. In the 1960s, poetry and arts highlighting the Black community became an integral part of the programming at Tremont, and in 1967, as many residents from Puerto Rico moved into the Tremont neighborhood, the branch participated in the South Bronx Library Project, which funded Spanish-language books, programming, and bilingual staff.

While the neighborhood around it evolved, the Tremont Library building itself has remained remarkably intact, beyond a small extension (adding one bay to the existing five) completed between 1915 and 1916 using leftover funds from the Carnegie donation. The extension increased space for book circulation and the children’s reading room. The building features a limestone trim, with limestone keystones on the first floor in the arched windows, a projecting band course between the first and second floors, limestone enframements of the second-floor window, denticulated cornice, and parapet panels.

Citywide, LPC has designated 25 Carnegie libraries across all five boroughs, 21 of which are individual landmarks, and an additional four that are designated as part of historic districts. The branch is the fifth intact Carnegie library that remains within the NYPL system to be designated in the Bronx. The other four are:

LPC’s work is guided by its Equity Framework to ensure diversity and inclusion in designations. The Tremont branch of The New York Public Library was identified as part of a comprehensive borough-wide survey update of the Bronx conducted by a dedicated LPC research team. Today’s designation is a direct outcome of that survey effort as the agency continues to prioritize and advance designations in areas less well represented by landmarks. Other recently-designated landmark sites identified as a result of the Bronx survey effort include Joseph Rodman Drake Park and Enslaved People’s Burial Ground, the Bronx Opera House, Engine Company 88/ Ladder Company 38 Firehouse, and Fire Alarm Telegraph Bureau, Bronx Central Office.


About the Landmarks Preservation Commission (LPC)

The Landmarks Preservation Commission is the mayoral agency responsible for protecting and preserving New York City’s architecturally, historically, and culturally significant buildings and sites. Since its creation in 1965, LPC has granted landmark status to more than 37,900 buildings and sites, including 1,460 individual landmarks, 121 interior landmarks, 11 scenic landmarks, and 156 historic districts and extensions in all five boroughs. For more information, visit nyc.gov/landmarks and connect with us at facebook.com/NYCLandmarks and twitter.com/nyclandmarks.

Jonas Bronck is the pseudonym under which we publish and manage the content and operations of The Bronx Daily.™ | Bronx.com - the largest daily news publication in the borough of "the" Bronx with over 1.5 million annual readers. Publishing under the alias Jonas Bronck is our humble way of paying tribute to the person, whose name lives on in the name of our beloved borough.