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The history behind Bryan's Carnegie History Center revolves around women

Posted at 2:44 PM, Mar 03, 2021
and last updated 2021-03-03 20:28:00-05

BRAZOS COUNTY, TX — The Carnegie History Center has been a place where people can gather, self-educate and empower the voiceless, for over a century.

A group of women had a big role in not only bringing the facility here but making it what it is today.

"Women could do powerful things through the social circle," Rachael Altman, Carnegie History Branch manager shared with 25 News KRHD.

So, a group of 20 women, used their influence to bring this library to the community.

"The Carnegie came about because we had strong women in the community. They weren't happy with the saloon town atmosphere that was the turn of the century, Bryan," Altman said.

The Mutual Improvement Group, later known as The Woman's Club of Bryan, used their connections to contact Scottish philanthropist, Andrew Carnegie. He provided funding for this library and it opened in the early 1900s.

"It's, I think, a tremendous source of pride, to all the ladies who are a part of the Woman's Club, to know that they've had that significant of a role in the history of the City of Bryan," Carol Wagner, president, Woman's Club of Bryan shared.

Using wit to cunningly transform the culture.

"They were tired of stepping on cow schmutz on an unpaved street, so they used the line of 'Oh, my pretty dresses' but it was really about sanitation," Altman added.

Proving that social barriers wouldn't stop women from shaping history.

"The communities are stronger because they have allowed women to be vocal, and be involved in what is going on," Wagner said.

More than a century later, the Woman's Club continues to make a mark on this community.

Bryan's Carnegie History Center is one of the few Carnegie buildings in the State of Texas that still operates as a library.