The Old Library


Customers seated at tables on the mezzanine of The Old Library
restaurant had a good view of the main floor below.


HUNTINGTON — In 1980, the Cabell County Public Library moved into a new modern
building erected just the 9th Street Plaza from its original vintage 1903 home.

At first the fate of the library’s old building was uncertain. The building was built with
 a gift from steel tycoon and philanthropist Andrew Carnegie and was listed on the
National Register of Historic Places. This meant that, while the interior could
 be altered as any new owner wished, there were sharp restrictions on any
 changes to the building’s historic exterior.

Enter a group of investors from Columbus, Ohio, who saw a bright future for
 the former library. Their idea? Transform the building into a restaurant.
The Cabell County Library Board sold them the building for
 $185,000, and The Old Library restaurant
opened in April 1982.

Co-owner Gary Gitlitz told the Herald-Dispatch that he and his partners
 had invested $150,000 in turning the former library into a restaurant.

The restaurant still looked much like a library, with books and shelves
 here and there. With seating for 180 customers, it included a bar,
lounge area and game room. The bar was constructed as a
square island in the middle of the main floor. Above the
sofas in the lounge area was a mezzanine with tables
and chairs. The lunch menu featured subs and other
 sandwiches, salads and pizza. The dinner menu
included steak and seafood.

Initially, the restaurant attracted its fair share of customers,
but ultimately it proved unsuccessful and was forced
 to close its doors. Since 1985, the building has
been the home of Huntington Junior College.


Note:  This Article and picture appeared in the Herald-Dispatch Newspaper on Oct. 22, 2019.


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