Andrew Bayne Memorial Library, Bellevue, PA
3. Andrew Bayne Memorial Library, Bellevue, PA
Unlike most of the stories told so far, Bayne Memorial Library began life as the home of Amanda Bayne Balf, daughter of Andrew Bayne who was a member of the Pennsylvania Constitutional Convention and Sheriff of Allegheny County in 1838. Mrs Balf’s husband, James Madison Balf, was a prominent architect at the time and designed the Victorian home, placing marble fireplaces in each room and etching his name above the entrance to the house.
Upon the death of Mrs Balf and her sister Jane Bayne Teece, the house and surrounding property was bequeathed to the Borough of Bellvue. The sisters wanted the house to be used as a library and the rest of the property to be converted into a park.
In 1914, a library committee announced the opening of two rooms in the old home for use as a library. In the early 1920s, a group of women called the Bellevue Federation sought and received permission to use the home as a meeting place. They used the upstairs rooms for their meeting space.
It wasn’t until 1927 – thirteen years after the library committee first met to announce the opening of rooms for use as a library – that the library and park were formally dedicated to the citizens of Bellevue. At the time of the dedication, the library contained 3,000 volumes, most of which had come from the private libraries of Amanda and Jane.
In the 1960s, the library was renovated and with the renovation came the monumental task of updating texts that were in poor shape or no longer used. Some were discarded outright, some repaired, but all were finally cataloged.
Today, the park surrounding the library has playground equipment and a large field that is used for football and extreme frisbee. During the summer, the library offers movies and concerts on Wednesdays.
Since the library began life as a home, it’s understandable that it was a beloved place for those who spent so much of their lives within its walls. One of the manifestations witnessed by staff and patrons alike is that of Amanda Bayne Balf herself, recognizable because a of her portraits hangs in one of the library rooms. She is often seen upstairs in what was once her bedroom. She is also known to be a mischievous entity, often turning lights off and on, randomly. Strange numbers have also appeared on computers, entered by unseen hands.