Carnegie Library

A line of people holding shovels with the Carnegie Library behind them.

While the City is extremely honored and excited to begin construction on the Carnegie Library, with these activities comes the need to remove trees that are within the building footprint or pose risks during and after construction.

In preparation for construction purposes, it has become necessary to remove 10 trees from the library premises. We understand the profound connection Manitou Springs has with the environment and the love for our trees, and we want to assure you that this decision was not made lightly.   

For the safety of the crews working and the nearby public, it is a requirement that these trees are removed. However, we want to emphasize our commitment to environmental stewardship and sustainability.   

To honor the legacy of these trees, we have taken careful measures to repurpose the wood responsibly. Some of these measures include our arborists creating bug hotels hand-in-hand with students at the elementary school, an art project that will be displayed in the Carnegie Library, and a donation of wood towards woodworking classes in the Manitou Springs School District. This way, the trees will continue to contribute to the community in meaningful and creative ways, even if they are no longer rooted into the ground.    

Furthermore, for every tree being removed, we pledge to plant multiple trees with a diameter appropriate to the ones being taken down. It is our estimate that a total of 225 inches in diameter of trees will be removed for this project, thus we will plant 225 inches in diameter of diverse and resilient trees in upcoming years to ensure that there is no net tree loss. This commitment ensures that Manitou Springs will continue to have a diverse and resilient canopy, preserving the beauty and ecological balance we cherish.   

The removal will take place sometime during the week of January 29. The trees that will be removed are marked with a dot and a ribbon. Made public is the full Carnegie Library Tree Assessment that you can view to better understand our determination on why each tree must be removed: 

We understand that this change can be challenging, especially when it involves elements as beloved as our trees. Your understanding during this transition is greatly appreciated.  


Libraries are critical. As Andrew Carnegie stated, “A library outranks any other one thing a community can do to benefit its people.”  When the Manitou Springs Carnegie library opened its doors in 1911, the population of Manitou Springs was less than 1,400. While the population of Manitou Springs has almost quadrupled in population, the library remained the same size and occupancy limit (19). In addition, the building was never built to accommodate those with mobility issues and was not updated when the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) was passed in 1990, thus it is inaccessible to many with mobility-related disabilities.

The Manitou Springs Carnegie Library project scope consists of a 2,950 SF addition onto the 3,486 SF existing historic Carnegie Library as well as interior remodeling of the existing space. The design intent is to impact the historic structure minimally while adding missing accessibility components and expanding the library’s program offerings based on 21st Century library principles. The addition will be pulled back from the primary north elevation and dug into the earth to minimally impact the street perspective. Where the addition comes above grade, it will be located on the secondary south elevation. The addition’s roof area has been designed to give back accessible park space to the community while allowing the addition to remain submissive to the primary structure.

On Tuesday, December 19, 2023, the Manitou Springs City Council unanimously awarded the General Contractor role to Fransen Pittman and appointed Artaic Group as the Owner’s Representative for this transformative initiative.

These selections reflect a careful consideration of expertise in historic preservation, public space development, and accessibility enhancements.

“Fransen Pittman is incredibly honored and thrilled to be given the opportunity to restore and renovate this Carnegie Library for the City of Manitou Springs and for Pikes Peak Library District. We are excited to get started and make this project a success!”

Final Design*

Contact Us

Katie Hillson

Project Manager
A 3D rendering of the front of the finalized design. Front facing.
A 3D rendering of the front of the finalized design. West facing.
A 3D rendering of the front of the finalized design. East facing.
Upper Level Floor Plan
A 3D rendering of the front of the finalized design. Birds eye view.
Lower Level Floor Plan

Final Site Plan (PDF)

*Minor aspects of the design may change through the permitting process.

Total Current Funding$4,758,195
Total Estimated Project Costs$4,529,873
Total Project Reserves$228,322
Project Reserves Goal$450,000
Total Funding Still Needed$221,678

Last updated December 20, 2023

Grassroots donations are extremely important in this funding process, and providing a donation Carnegie Library Remodel and Expansion is extremely simple to do. The can be completed on computers and mobile devices, and provides a way to donate via eChecks or credit/debit cards.

Donations to the Carnegie Library Remodel and Expansion are for a public purpose, and therefore may quality for tax deduction in accordance with Federal and/or State income tax laws. Please consult with your tax advisor to determine whether your donation is tax deductible in whole or in part. Nothing in this communication is intended to constitute legal or tax advice. 


In 1910, local Manitou Springs physician H.M. Ogilbee convinced the Andrew Carnegie Foundation to donate $6,000 for a library. The City participated by purchasing properties at the current site and removing six previous buildings. Ground was broken in 1910. The classical Italian Renaissance library, designed by architect Thomas McLaren, was opened February 22, 1911. The population of Manitou Springs at the time was less than 1400.

Manitou Springs’ first library was established in 1900, in the Parish House of the St. Andrews Episcopal Church. The Reverend E.C. Bonell, Rector of the church, organized a club of 12 women, including several from each church in the town of Manitou Springs.

This club established the library in the church. Having no money to buy books, they asked for donations of books or money. After they had received three to four hundred books, they opened the library, and the women of the group took turns in keeping it running. The library was aptly named a Reading Room, for many people spent hours there in the little Parish House.

Read More History on the Save the Manitou Carnegie Library Facebook Page...