Minnesota Carnegie Libraries, I - P

With the advent of the Placeography website, some missing details (primarily pertaining to architects of record) about the Carnegie buildings have been added.

There were 65 Carnegie buildings. I like to think this results from that Upper Midwest mixture of Lutheran socialism and Scandinavian frugality.

You might also be interested in the 'Carnegie Library Tour' of Placeography.


Janesville, MN Carnegie Library

May, 1911 grant. Built in 1912, and is still in use.

Photo postcard shows a dirt street and a clapboard church in the background.

Lake City

Lake City, MN Carnegie Library

1917 grant: demolished in 1967. This was a tiny example. It's hard to adapt something this small.

Photo postcard shows a glimpse of the business district at far left.


Litchfield, MN Carnegie Library (L) The postcard isn't as gaudily tinted as some of its Massure Co. brethren.
(R) German card for H.H. Co.: mailed in 1909.
Litchfield, MN Carnegie Library

1903 grant. Built 1904: houses office space today.

Little Falls

Little Falls, MN Carnegie Library (L) Photo by Nelson. Horatio? Ozzie? Muntz?
(R) Photo postcard mailed in 1938.
Little Falls, MN Carnegie Library

1902 grant. Still in use, as part of the Great River Regional Library.
It's in red brick, in case you wondered, with a stunning river rock foundation. The front wall has the Carnegie Library inscription, and A.D. 1904 just over the entrance.


Luverne, MN Carnegie Library

1903 grant. No longer in use as a library.
Per Placeography, this is a Greene and Gillham design. They call it a 'Beaux Arts building ... Richardsonian Romanesque flavor.'

Darn spiffy building, which in 2007 bore a red coat on its stucco, and white portico. The dressed stone seems to have been left in a oxblood sandstone. It is repurposed as the Carnegie Cultural Center.

This real photo card was mailed in 1940.


Madison, MN Carnegie Library Madison, MN Carnegie Library Madison, MN Carnegie Library
Crescent Photo Co. Card,
never mailed.
Photo by Chalmers. A real photo by H. Montgomery of Hartford, Wis.

1905 grant.
Somewhat unusually, Madison appears to not have had public library service until 1906. The Library's history page is quite detailed. From it we learn that the Minneapolis architect Butler designed the building in Gothic Doric style. Contractor Gerhard Herriges built it, and Ed Hegland is credited with its painting and interior decorating.
However, it doesn't seem to differ radically from the Classical Revival Type A Carnegie library archetype, except for the dome it bears.
Between 2000 and 2002 the building was renovated and an addition built, after a slightly contentious rejection of a local hotel site for construction of an entirely new library building.


Mankato, MN Carnegie library (L) This V.O. Hammon card is of rather mediocre quality overall, but someone there had a talent at making retouched leaves look real.
(R) The public library (1901 grant) is in the upper left corner of the card. This link will take you to a picture on the opposite end of the size spectrum.
Mankato, MN Carnegie library
Mankato, MN Carnegie library (L) Card produced for the 'New York 5 & 10c Store.' It was mailed in Luverne.
(R) This view is identical to that on the card above, but the card appears to be a Curt Teich product.
Mankato, MN Carnegie library

Back in the days of Mankato State, Mankato also boasted a library school.


Marshall, MN Carnegie library Marshall, MN Carnegie library Marshall, MN Carnegie library
Improbable color scheme
on this early Curt Teich card
with an unevenly divided back,
mailed in 1907.
Haney the Druggist
published this monochrome card.
Surprisingly, it's even older.
Photo postcard by Crescent Photo Co. of Minneapolis.
Mailed in 1927.

Replaced by the Marshall-Lyon County Library: current fate of the 1903 building is unknown.


Moorhead, MN Carnegie library (L) B.F. Mackall really snapped to the demand for a postcard of this library: this example was mailed in 1906.
(R) Mackall continued his attention in 1907, when divided back postcards became legal for US postage. This was mailed in August, 1907.
Moorhead, MN Carnegie library
Moorhead, MN Carnegie library (L) The W.M. Neshelm card, much more attractive than the original Mackall card, was mailed sometime in 1907 or later.

Currently part of Lake Agassiz Regional Library.
1904 Carnegie grant: 1906 building. Demolished in 1963.


Montevideo, MN Carnegie library

Carnegie library no longer in use. Service for the community is now provided by Pioneerland Library System.

Late 1905 grant. Possibly abandoned in 1968. Restored in the 1980s, per Placeography.
Even though this conforms to the 'standard' plan, Martin Granum served as the architect of record.

Self framed card, publisher unknown.


Morris, MN Carnegie library

Built 1904. Replaced 1969. The Carnegie building was repurposed as the Stevens County History Museum.

German, self-framed card published by the St. Paul Souvenir Co.


Pipestone, MN Carnegie library (L) Black and White brand card.
(R) Printed in Germany, never mailed.
Pipestone, MN Carnegie library

1903 grant: opened 1904.
Great googly-moogly, what a Carnegie building! Looks like the Pipestonians have been very ambivalent about their library, moving it into the school library, and transferring this building to the Pipestone Senior Center.
The combined collection is the Meinders Community Library.


Preston, MN Library and City Hall

Late 1909 grant.
Opened in 1912.
Took over the city hall space in 1996.
I still don't know which half originally held the library.

The photo postcard was mailed on May 18th. Which one, I don't know.


Drop that mouse and visit your public library. (Or, if you're viewing this in the library, set the mouse down carefully.) All the following resources were found at a local library.

Bobinski, George S. 1969. Carnegie Libraries: Their History and Impact on American Public Library Development.
Dickson, Paul. 1986. The Library in America: A Celebration in Words and Pictures.
Frye, Lonn. 1992. Carnegie Libraries: Restoration and Expansion.
Krass, Peter. 2002. Carnegie.
Van Slyck, Abigail. 1995. Free to All: Carnegie Libraries and the American Culture, 1890-1920.