Situated on land donated by beloved Hoosier poet James Whitcomb Riley, the original limestone building at 40 E. St. Clair St. was designed by Paul Cret, who drew up many of those plans while fighting in the trenches for his native France in World War I.
Dedicated Oct. 7, 1917, the library arose from the need to expand beyond the crowded and inadequate conditions at a building occupied at Ohio and Meridian streets since 1893.
The Cret Building, whose architectural features are highlighted by its classic Greek Doric exterior and an interior ceiling mural painted in oil on small canvases, received acclaim from such national publications as Architectural Forum, which in 1918 proclaimed the library as “the most beautiful secular building in the United States, if not the most beautiful secular building produced in modern times.”
The library expanded in 2007 with a six-story glass and steel-framed addition. Elle Decor magazine included Central Library in its 2016 list of the 50 Best Libraries in America.
More information about the activities is available by calling 317-275-4099 or visiting www.indypl.org.