I can remember the “Good Old Days” from age 7 to 18 when I spent a great deal of time at the Bill ManbyAndrew Carnegie Free Library.  I remember these as a 76 year old…

Our high school, Carnegie High School, was at the bottom of the hill from the library, and was built in the same style.

In the early years, I remember grade school plays and book reports. For several years the library gym was used by the Boys Club. We played basketball in club leagues. Later the Boys Club built a new gym on Washington Avenue (their current location). The library converted the gym to dance studios.

Memories of CHS plays, band concerts, baccalaureate services and choir concerts throughout the high school years are still clear in my mind. During 1950-1951 we had a really good Double Quartet (in the photo: front row, front to back: John Leone, Harry Makar, Ken Welsh, Dan Reynolds, Bill Manby; back row, front to back: John Childow, Bill English, Bill Lee) and triple trio (female) singing group. We performed at churches, nursing homes, civic groups and the music hall. Emily (English) Chidlow was our accompanist. We thought we were pretty good and so did our audiences! John Leone, Bill English and John Chidlow are still strong supporters of the library.

The library was the center of the community. You could always see many fine activities in the music hall, gymnasium and the reading rooms.

It has a special place in my heart. That is why I gathered some good friends to form the Chartiers Valley Partnership. We are dedicated to multi-million project to completely refurbish the Library & Mussic Hall (Campaign Information). We have made extraordinary progress in the face of daunting challenges (from floods to economic nose dives).

Our funding comes from federal, state, county, foundations and corporations. The most important funding came through local contributions – from people who love the library. That support gave this whole effort a jump start and opportunities for matching grants.

With continued support from all of the above, we’ll get the job done and have a beautifully restored “Beacon on the Hill” where old memories can be savored and new memories will be forged.

Keep being generous, and share your memories. The Andrew Carnegie Free Library & Music Hall has more good stories to tell.  They and your continued generosity are part of an extraordinary legacy.

Many, many thanks….Bill Manby