Queens Public Library, Richmond Hill Branch

118-14 Hillside Avenue
Tuthill & Higgins

The Richmond Hill branch was one of six public libraries in Queens funded by industrialist and philanthropist Andrew Carnegie. It traces its origins to a lending library established c. 1899 by local resident Ella J. Flanders (prominent local resident Jacob Riis served as an early trustee). Unlike earlier libraries, which typically occupied space in other buildings, the Carnegie branches were designed to stand out. Most, including the Richmond Hill branch, employ a classical architectural vocabulary; in the outer boroughs, they were also typically sited on larger lots, and were usually one-story, freestanding buildings with horizontally oriented floor plans. In 1929, a sympathetically designed addition to the Richmond Hill Branch was constructed in the rear to house the Children’s Library. The main reading room features a Works Progress Administration-sponsored mural titled “The Story of Richmond Hill,” painted in 1936-37 by artist Philip Evergood, which contrasts the pastoral pleasures of suburban Queens on the left against a bleak industrial urban landscape on the right.