Carnegie Building

Carnegie Library circa 1910.

The Smith County Historical Society is housed in the Carnegie History Center, formerly know as the Carnegie Public Library.

The Carnegie Public Library was added to the National Register of Historic Places in 1979. The dedication of the new Tyler Public Library left the former location an empty building whose future was in doubt. The City of Tyler leased the building to the Smith County Historical Society on the condition that the building would be completely renovated. The restoration preserved the historic integrity of the building, while modernizing it to assure the comfort of its patrons and to comply with building codes. In 1984 the building opened as the Carnegie History Center, the home of the Society museum and archives. The Payne Auditorium on the second floor serves as the location of the Society’s monthly meetings.

The museum displays artifacts that reflect the historic, social, economic and political culture of Smith County, Texas. Most of these artifacts were donated by public-minded citizens to the Society over the years. Dioramas covering topics ranging from the Caddo Indians to the Twentieth Century are presented in chronological order. There are also several interesting videos on local history. Various items, including photographs and publications, are available for purchase.

James Wilson Mural

A Photographic Essay on Rural Texans and Their Buildings, 1850-1940


Smith County Historical Society, in observance Historic Preservation Month, is pleased to announce the opening of a special exhibit “THE WAY THINGS WERE: A Photographic Essay on Rural Texans and Their Buildings, 1850-1940”. The exhibit was prepared by Texas Humanities Resource Center, Austin, Texas a division of Texas Council for the Humanities.

The Society has prepared an accompanying exhibit “Smith County Buildings” that features landmark building sites throughout Smith County. The exhibits will be on display through the month of May.

The exhibits are open to the Public from 10:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m., Tuesday-Friday and from Noon to 4:00 p.m. Saturdays. There is no admission charge at any time at the Historic Carnegie Library Building, 125 South College in Tyler.

Humanities Texas develops and supports diverse programs across the state, including lecture, oral history projects, teacher institutes, travelling exhibitions and documentary films.”