Trumbull County Carnegie Law Library...
120 High Street, NW
Warren, Ohio 44481
The library site has a unique history related to education and law which spans nearly two centuries. About 1820, Ephriam Quinby, Warren's founder, sold the property to the trustees of the Warren Academy, which was founded to prepare students for higher education.
Among its graduates were future lawyers who attained Ohio's front rank. Milton Sutliff, one of four brothers who entered the legal profession, acquired the "old academy lot" after pursuing a brilliant political and judicial career. A noted abolitionist, Milton Sutliff was elected as judge of the Ohio Supreme Court in 1857 and served one year as Chief Justice. He maintained an active legal practice until his death in 1878.
Under the terms of his estate, the property, valued at $10,000, was donated to the city in 1900. By 1903, planning for the site focused on the building of a new public library and the relocation of the library from the courthouse. The assistance of Andrew Carnegie was solicited in this endeavor and his approval was received in 1904.
The library was designed by Edward L. Tilton of New York, architect for Carnegie. All the contracts were let to local men. The general contractors were Smith & Hafer. Sutherland and Watson did the stone work; Ben Bullus, the masonry construction. George Angstadt secured the plumbing, heating, and gas-fitting contract. Henry Harwood was the local supervising architect on the project. Construction began on Labor Day, 1904.
The building is constructed of pressed red brick and Indiana limestone. Massive stone columns with carved Ionic capitals and bases flank the front entrance. In the building's dome is a window of stained leaded glass. The lobby and delivery desk were located under this skylight.
The Library was finished in red oak with a natural finish while the basement lecture room, honoring Judge Sutliff was done in selected cypress. Hardwood floors were finished in oil.
The reference room was located to the right of the entrance and the children's room was to the left. The book stacks were to the rear and in the alcoves. The library was completely lighted by electricity and all the bulbs were donated by Warren's several lamp manufacturers.
The total cost of the building and furnishings was $28,383, provided by Andrew Carnegie's gift.
The Warren Public Library was opened and officially dedicated on February 3, 1906. This event was held in Sutliff Hall, which was decorated with flags, palms and flowers.
In 1926, James Ward Packard donated $55,000 for enlarging the building, adding equipment and new furnishings. The J.W. Packard Reading Room now houses the Law Library Collection.
The public library moved to its present Mahoning Avenue location in 1971 and Trumbull County acquired the High Street site in July, 1972 for $80,000. Initially, the Trumbull County Board of Education and a Juvenile Center were housed in the building. Later, the 11th District Court of Appeals occupied the building.
THE LAW LIBRARY
In June, 1899, the Trumbull County Law Library Association was organized as a non-profit corporation by Common Pleas Judge T.I. Gillmer, and lawyers Homer E. Stewart, E. E. Roberts, J. L. Herzog, and Washington Hyde.
Mr. Stewart was elected the first president of the Association and LuLu E. Mackey was employed as the first librarian. A membership drive was undertaken and with almost $1,000 in their treasury, the Association bought a $40 bookcase and allocated $870 for the purchase of books.
The Law Library was located on the third floor of the courthouse. By 1911, the growing library of about 3,000 volumes occupied two rooms. In 1915, a catalog system was instituted for the collection.
In 1965, a discussion of moving the Law Library to the first floor of the courthouse was under way. The move to the first floor east rooms was completed in 1968. The first full-time staffing for the library occurred in 1976. The library collection now contains about 32,000 hardbound books and 50,000 microfiche and ultrafiche.
In 1994, County Commissioners Angelo, Magee, and O'Brien authorized the renovation of the old Warren Library building for housing the Law Library and other county operations. The architects were van Dijk, Pace, Westlake & Partners of Cleveland, and the Jack Gibson Construction Company of Warren was awarded the contract for this restoration project.
The move to the Carnegie Law Library was accomplished on April 15, 1996. The 1997 officers and trustees of the Trumbull County Law Library Association are Randil J. Rudloff, president; James A. Fredericka, vice president; Kevin P. Murphy, secretary-treasurer; William G. Cauffield; and Judge Donald R. Ford. Karin McKinney is the interim director of the library.