Iowa Carnegie Libraries, A - C

Probably I have more chutzpah than brains to put up my offerings, given these great pages that have beaten me to Iowa library history:

CLIP: Carnegie Libraries in Iowa Project
State Library of Iowa's list of Carnegie library construction dates.
Fairfield (Jefferson County) library was the first Carnegie library west of the Mississippi.

Albia (Carnegie-Evans Library)

Albia, Iowa Public Library Albia, Iowa Public Library Albia, Iowa Public Library

Monroe County library, built 1903, apparently in anticipation of high water. This building is a prime example of inaccessibility for many.
Apparently still in use, I hope with ramps.

(L) Card originally sepia monochrome, with an unknown publisher.
(C) Curt Teich card mailed in 1937.
(R) Card misattributed as Clear Lake, Iowa, then as Clear Lake, Wisconsin.


Algona, Iowa Public Library (L) RPPC, never mailed.
(R) Bland, monochromatic card from Tanner Souvenir of New York. The postmark is hard to read, but my guess is that it was sent in 1913.
Algona, Iowa Public Library

Unusual, asymmetric Carnegie building dating from 1903.
The SLI site states that it is now a gift shop, which seems like a peaceful retirement occupation. Whether it still is, I know not.


Ames, Iowa Public Library (L) C.E. Wheelock card, imported from Germany by the Peoria-based firm. Sold via the druggists Loughran & Bauer.
(R) Plain monochrome card mailed in 1910.
Ames, Iowa Public Library

Built in 1904 with help from a Carnegie grant: expanded in 1907, 1940, 1985, and 2013.

The Library's web site has a more thorough history, along with several interesting photographs. The 1940 renovation looks to have more than doubled the library's size.


Atlantic, Iowa Public Library

Built in 1902 with help from a Carnegie grant: remodeled since.

I don't know whether it's just the card's quality, but this is a very striking library. The card was made in Germany for Jno. T. Faber, a publisher in Milwaukee.


Audubon, Iowa Public Library

Spring, 1911 grant. Heavily remodeled along the way.

1913 card shows a brick building with Tudor and Gothic influences.


Bedford, Iowa Public Library

1907 grant; built in 1915. Why the discrepancy?
Maybe they wanted to get it just right: it's still in use.

L.L. Cook card mailed in 1950.
Captured details include 'Public Library' over the door, stucco panels, and an interesting house in the background.


Bedford, Iowa Public Library

1916 grant; dedicated in 1918. Replaced in 1968, and then demolished.

L.L. Cook card, never mailed.
Captured details include the street sign, fixing the location as the corner of E. 4th and Main Streets. More in the tradition of commercial buildings of the Midwest, 'Carnegie' is affixed above the entryway.


Bloomfield Carnegie Library

1911 grant. Dedicated in 1913, and still in use. On the city web site, it looks like a gingerbread house.

Photo postcard mailed in 1946. I believe this to have been produced by L.L. Cook, but can't confirm this.


Carroll, Iowa Public Library

Built in 1903; currently a museum.

Another monochrome card that is saved from being boring by a few details, such as the building at left, the woman posed at the entrance, her companions at the bottom of the steps, the possibly leaded windows, and the details beneath the windows that look like 2 Liberty caps flanking a book.

Cedar Falls (Carnegie - Dayton Library)

Cedar Falls, Iowa Public Library (L) E.C. Kropp card, never mailed.
(R) The ca. 1913 photo postcard also shows the unusually gathered striped awnings.
Cedar Falls, Iowa Public Library

No, I don't know who Dayton was.

1902 grant, dedicated in 1903. Demolished in 2004, ostensibly because it couldn't be made ADA-compliant.

Cedar Rapids

Carnegie Library, built 1901. Currently the Cedar Rapids Museum of Art. They conserved the library facade, but I sorta wonder why.

Cedar Rapids, Iowa Public Library (L) Mailed in 1926. Close examination reveals that this is the Lublic Library, again dated 1804. Someone either needed the library or bifocals.
(R) Unevenly divided back card, postmarked 1917. Evidently not a big seller for the Baylis Post Card Co. This is another Acmegraph card from Chicago. However, they did do a great job getting the roller blinds properly aligned. Maybe the little girl, seen on the front steps, waved her parasol to direct the procedure.
Cedar Rapids, Iowa Public Library
Cedar Rapids, Iowa Public Library (L) For those of you with a martial bent, note the honkin' cannon on this pre-Great War German card. This time there's a man in some sort of uniform on the library's steps.
As to the building on the left, my best guess is that it was an early car dealer or garage.
(R) Delightful interior view. This was another Carnegie building more impressive on the inside than outside, although I'm certain that K-Win & Co. (a new publisher in my collection) was at least partially responsible.
Interior of Cedar Rapids, Iowa Public Library

Post-2008 flood addendum: the new CR library building was flooded, and may have lost its entire adult collection, according to American Libraries.


Chariton, Iowa Public Library (L) The card is a 'Sexichrome,' which sounds more exciting than it was. The red is out of register. I don't know if red looks worse when out of register, but it seems like when one color is out, it's generally red.
(R) L.L. Cook photo card mailed in 1942.
Chariton, Iowa Public Library

Built in 1903; with an addition or two, still in use.
Its closest stylistic relative might be Sigourney.

Charles City

Charles City, Iowa Public Library (L) Lovely 1907 C.U. Williams 'Photo-ette' card, given to me by a friend.
(R) This is an E.C. Kropp card, published in Milwaukee, and in excellent condition.
Charles City, Iowa Public Library

Built in 1903; currently serves as an art center.
I hope they kept the stained glass fanlight and windows. However, this is an odd mash-up of styles: Moorish, Federal Georgian, and a hint of Prairie Bungalow.


Cherokee, Iowa Public Library Cherokee, Iowa Public Library Cherokee, Iowa Public Library
Unevenly divided back postcard
printed in Germany
for A.C. Bosselman of New York.
Photo postcard mailed in 1910. L.L. Cook photo postcard
with book drop and parking meters.

1903 grant, built 1905. Added to the National Register of Historic Sites in 1986. Seriously modified in 1998.


Clarinda, Iowa Public Library (L) Construction RPPC with workers on the roof, and two women leaning out a front window. Written by the sender is, 'this will be finished by Mar 1-09'.
(R) Sepia print by unknown photographer.
Clarinda, Iowa Public Library
Clarinda, Iowa Public Library (L, below) The L.L. Cook card shows a protective awning over what I presume is the employees' entrance. This photo was republished at least once.

1908 Carnegie grant, replaced in 2002 - 04 due to ADA concerns. Today, houses small businesses. A nice photographer's blog contains some nice pictures and recent information.

Replacement known as the Lied Public Library.


Clinton, Iowa Public Library (L) Frankly boring monochrome card with an entire back.
(R) Color version of the left hand card.
Clinton, Iowa Public Library

Built 1901; opened in 1904; was scheduled for replacement in 2002.
As of 2014, the building hasn't been replaced. However, the photo on the Library's web site makes it look better than on any of these postcards.


Colfax, Iowa Public Library Colfax, Iowa Public Library Colfax, Iowa Public Library

(L) Photo postcard mailed in 1943. There seems to be a board fence at far left.
(C) Exquisite Curt Teich 'C.T. Photochrom' card, probably from 1913.
(R) Delightful RPPC by the Hamilton Photo Co. of Ames, Iowa. Note the gap in the bushes. You probably can see the wire fence. What's not visible in a scan of this size is the 'Keep off the Grass' sign.

The library was built in 1904 and is still standing. However, it doesn't seem to have a website.

Council Bluffs

Council Bluffs, Iowa Public Library (L) C.T. Photochrom by Curt Teich.
(R) C.T. American Art, also by Curt Teich.
Council Bluffs, Iowa Public Library
Council Bluffs, Iowa Public Library (L) Pearl Street, Looking North from Library, Council Bluffs, Iowa
Hard to believe Council Bluffs had a streetcar system in place.
(R) 1907 postmark on a green monochrome postcard. Is that a gaggle -- bunch -- stack of librarians on the corner?
Council Bluffs, Iowa Public Library

Built in 1903.
Replaced in 1998: building houses the Union Pacific Railway Museum.

Card styles change much, or what?


Cresco, Iowa Public Library

Prior to the Carnegie grant, the Cresco Public Library used some creative ways to build its collection, including a book shower.
By 1913, it needed a new building, and upon adding some area communities to its service area, received a Carnegie grant. The building was finished by late 1915. The first major renovation occurred in 1991.

From the Library's history page I also learned about the Kinney-Lindstrom fund, derived from oil money from a Texas strike, which helped the libraries of northeastern Iowa thrive in the last 60 years.

Unattributed photo post card.