Minnesota Public Libraries

Winona, MN library

Most of Minnesota's early twentieth-century library needs were filled by Carnegie grants. Still, some notable libraries have local roots and leanings.
As postcards of these buildings are somewhat scarce (excepting Rochester), a further division is not imminent.

Illustration from the reverse of a Winona, MN postcard.

Blue Earth

Blue Earth, MN library (L) Monochrome card; unknown maker. I believe the manufacturer is the same as the firm--possibly Massure--that produced the gaudily randomly tinted cards found for Minnesota, Wisconsin, and Illinois.
(R) 1905 card by E. Floe.
Blue Earth, MN library

Part of the Traverse des Sioux Library System: the featured building may or may not be standing today.


Cloquet, MN library (L) Curt Teich 'C.T. American Art' postcard, mailed 1938.
(R) Monochrome card distributed by Olson's Photo Shop.
Cloquet, MN library

Replaced the prior building, burned in a 1918 fire. This building is now used as a museum.


City Hall and Public Library, Faribault, Minn. (L) It's unclear from the card caption whether the building in the foreground housed both functions, or if the library was housed in the building in the background of this German import.
(R) Buckham Library is still in use. This E.C. Kropp card has a goofy, somewhat obvious caption:
This is a Public Library, built by Mrs Buckham. and donated to the City, but called the Buckham Library.
No Kropp, Sherlock.
Buckham Library, Faribault, Minn.


Library in LC inset Still in use.
This photographic multiview card was never mailed. It seems to have lost its corners to a postcard album.
Enlargement of library inset

International Falls

Library in R inset

Still in use.

This 1948 Curt Teich linen finish card is a close cousin to the large letter postcards of the era. Some Teich motel postcards are also stylistically similar. The library is in the right inset, and is vaguely Deco in design.
The rest of the card features a view down a railroad bridge.

Le Sueur

Le Sueur, MN library

Annotated 1939 by the original collector.

The Carpenter Gothic wood building has a sign designating it as the Mayo Home. Mercifully, the library has moved on to more appropriate quarters, and the Mayo Home has gone back to being a monument.

I hope they treat for termites.


Minneapolis library In use 1889 - 1961.
Not intended to be a loafing place for tramps to read dime novels.
--Thomas Hale Williams, about the Athenaeum (1877), quoted in Minneapolis Observer Quarterly.
Minneapolis library
Minneapolis library Formerly, there was a full (and funny) history on the Minneapolis Observer site, who in turn cited The Library Book: Centennial History of the Minneapolis Public Library, by Bruce Weir Benidt (1984), Minneapolis Public Library and Information Center: Minneapolis.
No, those are not solar panels on the left-hand picture. Minnesota wasn't that progressive a hundred years ago.

Minneapolis library Now incorporated into the renowned Hennepin County Library System.
(L) From the reverse of the Plastichrome card by Colourpicture Publishers of Boston 30, Mass.:
This magnificent gold trimmed Public Library, serving as headquarters for Hennepin County and Minneapolis libraries, is located in the Gateway Development Area, 300 Nicollet Avenue. The structure is made of granite, Italian marble and anodized aluminum. The library, geared for the comfort of its visitors, features smoking lounges and open shelves, invites browsing and casual research. The library also features a planetarium where regular shows are presented.
(R) From the reverse of the Mirro-Krome card by H.S Crocker, of Minneapolis 23, Minn.:
The new gold and granite Minneapolis Public Library, headquarters for both Minneapolis and Hennepin County Libraries, is located in the Gateway Development Area, 300 Nicollet Avenue.
Vivid colors, light and space combine with glass, Italian marble, teakwood and anodyzed aluminum in this modern library. Smoking lounges and open shelves invite the visitor to browse and wander.
A blacklight hall of time and space and a planetarium, where regular shows are given, are unique features of the library.
Minneapolis library

Pillsbury Library

In use 1904-1967.
But wait, now it houses a medical imaging firm.
Oops, an art gallery.
Apartments? Nah.
Now the Phillips Foundation. But hey, at least it's standing.

Pillsbury (Southeast) library (L) V.O. Hammon card, produced in Chicago.
(R) Tuck postcard. Raphael Tuck & Sons, of Great Britain didn't print many featuring US public libraries, but this one is delightful.
Pillsbury (Southeast) library


Owatonna, MN library Owatonna, MN library Owatonna, MN library
Bloom Bros. card. Either from L.L. Cook
or A. Pearson.
V.O. Hammon card.

Still in use, with a branch - Blooming Prairie Branch Library.


Rochester, MN Public Library

Containing newer information from the Rochester Library's web site.
This section does not include the Mayo Library.

'Library Building, Rochester, Minn.'

Rochester, MN library (L) Post-1907 card mailed 1911. This building clearly dates from prior to the turn of the century. Since much of the city was destroyed by a tornado in 1883, I'd presume the building is newer. However, it looks like it could have withstood a F3 or so.
The maple trees appear to be 2 - 3 years old.
(R) Bloom Bros. card shows several pedestrians, including a paperboy loafing against the side of the building. Oddly, the retouching makes the library look like it occupies lakefront property.
This is the 1895 building which was funded by a bequest from Huber Bastian, artist, and a gift from local merchant George W. Healy, with some stipulations.
Rochester, MN library
Rochester, MN library (L) ca. 1907 card predates the adjacent YMCA.
(R) This was the first card of the bunch that I purchased. At the time, it was difficult to tell the Library from the YMCA, as the Romanesque Sedgewick building could have been used for nearly any function.
Rochester, MN library and YMCA bldg.

'Public Library, Rochester, Minn.'

Another Rochester, MN library Yet another Rochester, MN library

This building, the third in the Library's history, was built in 1936 - 1937, partially from Public Works Administration funds.

The RPPC is clearly from the forties, whereas the linen finish card appears to date from the 1930s. It was mailed in 1948. The limestone building closely resembles that of 1930s Highland Park, IL.

In 1972, this building was transferred to Mayo Clinic, and a J.C. Penney building served until 1995, when a purpose-built Library building was once again used.

St. Paul

St. Paul, MN library (L) R. Steinman card, published in St. Paul.
(R) Card caption:
New Saint Paul Public Library and the L.J. Hill Reference Library, Saint Paul, Minn.
St. Paul, MN library

Built during the Great War. Electus Litchfield was its architect.
Unlike Minneapolis, St. Paul seems to replace libraries only when absolutely necessary. Looks like a 1915 fire was the only good enough reason.

Sleepy Eye (Dyckman Free Library)

Dyckman Free Library

I'd like to think my great-great-grandfather spent his last years enjoying this building.

Appears on Google Street View to have a very large addition.


Virginia, MN library

Recently reassigned to its proper destination.

This card, produced for the Woolworth's dime store chain, shows the hasty replacement for the Carnegie building.


Winona, MN library (L) The card, with an unevenly divided back, was mailed in 1911.
(R) Lovely E.S. Morgan card. Its reverse heads this page.
Winona, MN library

Built in 1899: still in use.
It may look like a Carnegie library, but it's not.

It's on the National Register of Historic Places. Look near the bottom of the linked page.