Built with a $50,000 grant from industrialist and philanthropist Andrew Carnegie, the Tampa Free Public Library opened its doors in April 27, 1917, becoming the City of Tampa's first public library. This venture was the result of a sustained community effort led by the Tampa Woman's Club and the Tampa Board of Trade, a tax approval by citizens for annual operating costs, a 4,000-book donation by Mr. and Mrs. L.H. Lothridge, and the dedicated work of head librarian, Helen V. Stelle (1917-1947). Designed by architect Fred J. James and constructed in 1915 at 102 E. 7th Avenue by Aulic, Bastes & Hudnell, the 35,212-square-foot Classical Revival building features brown and yellow brick, rusticated granite, a barrel tile roof, and 16-foot ceilings. It served as the main library for Tampa Public Library for 50 years. The Tampa Free Public Library closed its doors on April 6, 1968, when a newly-built, modern, central library at 900 N. Ashley Drive in downtown Tampa opened. The Tampa Free Public Library building is designated as a City of Tampa Local Historic Landmark; it was added to the National Register of Historic Places in 1991.