Built between 1899 and 1902 by architects Ackerman & Ross, who had been selected in a national design competition, the Central Public Library was the first public building in DC to be built in the Beaux Arts style. The library is one of 1,679 libraries built in the U.S. using funds provided by Andrew Carnegie, and it served as DC's Central Public Library until 1970, when overcrowding moved the library's main branch to the Martin Luther King, Jr. Memorial Library. It was the first desegregated public building in DC.
In 1999, Congress granted a 100-year lease of the Library to the Historical Society of Washington, DC. Since 2019, the Historical Society has occupied the second floor of the building with the DC History Center, while an Apple Store occupies the first.
DC Inventory: November 8, 1964 (Joint Committee on Landmarks)
DC Inventory (Updated Documentation): April 30, 2020
National Register: December 3, 1969
This site is included on the Women's Suffrage in Washington DC tour for its role as a meeting space for suffragists and a common place to hand out pamphlets promoting the cause.