Arlington Hills Library, 105 Greenbrier Street, St Paul, Minnesota

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Arlington Hills Library

Arlington Hills Library, 1925
Arlington Hills Library, 2008
Address: 105 Greenbrier Street
St Paul, Minnesota
Ramsey County, Minnesota
State/province: Minnesota
Year built: 1916-1917
Primary Style: Beaux Arts
Historic Function: Library
Current Function: Library
Architect or source of design: Charles A. Hausler, City Architect
Builder: Cameron and Company
Material of Exterior Wall Covering: Brick
Material of Roof: Ceramic Tile
First Owner: City of Saint Paul
Notes: Carnegie Grant: part of $75,000 granted to the City of Saint Paul for 3 Carnegie Libraries.

St Paul Ramsey

Arlington Hills Library, 105 Greenbrier Street, St Paul, Minnesota
(44.9788249° N, 93.070987° WLatitude: 44°58′43.77″N
Longitude: 93°4′15.553″W
National Register of Historic Places Information
Certification date: February 10, 1984
Level of significance: Local

The Arlington Hills Library is one of 65 public libraries built in Minnesota with funds from Andrew Carnegie and the Carnegie Corporation. Between 1899 and 1917, Carnegie, a wealthy industrialist and philanthropist contributed close to 1 million dollars towards library construction in Minnesota. This makes Minnesota the eighth largest recipient of Carnegie Library grants in the United States.



On May 8, 1914 the city of Saint Paul secured a total of $75,000 from Carnegie to build three public libraries. These included the Arlington Hills Library, the Riverview Branch Library and the Saint Anthony Park Branch Library - each was built for ap-proximately $26,000. Plans for all three libraries were prepared by the Saint Paul City Architect Charles A. Hausler. Hausler (1889-1971) was a life-long resident of Saint Paul and earned his reputation having studied architecture in New York before work-ing under Louis Sullivan in Chicago. During his architectural career Hausler went into partnership with William Alban (1911-1913) and later with Percy Bentley (1914) and Ernest Hartford (1915-1916). Hausler was Saint Paul's first City Architect (1914-1923) and designed many of the city's schools, libraries, fire stations, and park buildings. In 1922 Hausler was elected to the State Senate but retired after sixteen years of service. He then re-established his architectural practice in 1939 and continued to work almost until his death in 1971. The contractor responsible for building all three branch libraries was Cameron and Company. Construction began on each library in 1916 and they were all completed and opened in the summer of 1917.

While the Carnegie grant was used to construct the building, the city of Saint Paul had to provide a suitable site and were expected to tax themselves at the annual rate of 10% of the grant amount. This requirement imposed by Carnegie ensured a long-term commitment for the purchase of books, staff costs and maintenance of the library building. In Arlington Hills, a committee led by chairman John L. Schweitz successfully raised enough money to purchase a site which was then presented to the City of Saint Paul.

The Arlington Hills Library continues to function as a successful library operating in the Saint Paul Public Library network. Considered an anchor in the neighbourhood it avoided closure in the 1980s due to strong community support of their public library. As a busy community library it has undergone some alterations in order to retain its level of service.

Building Description

The Arlington Hills Library is a one storey Beaux Arts style building. Although all three Saint Paul Carnegie libraries had the same dimensions: 80 feet wide across the façade, by 40 feet deep and 20 feet in height, the Arlington Hills Library differs most in design when compared to the Riverview and Saint Anthony Branch libraries – the latter two being almost identical. The building exterior is faced with brick and rests on a raised basement of coursed ashlar stone. The building plan is rectangular in form; it has a flat roof with a brick and stone parapet wall set above a simple classical cornice and frieze. The symmetrical, seven bay façade has a central entrance which is accessed by a flight of steps. The main façade and side walls have large rounded arched openings that alternate with smaller rectangular windows. Cut stone Ionic pilasters are a key design element of the Arlington Hills Library. Paired pilasters flank the main entry-way and a single pilaster supports each window opening. This sequence means that when viewing the library from a corner position, the edges are dominated by four pilasters in a row. All of the smaller window openings are topped by rectangular polished stone panels and the doorway surround is decorated with ornamental stonework. [1]

Remodeling occurred in 1988 and a minor addition was carried out in 1997 to make the Arlington Hills Library compliant with accessibility standards. At present there are plans to build a new Arlington Hills library within the upcoming years, however the Carnegie library building will remain and be re-purposed.

Memories and stories


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Minnesota Carnegie Libraries Tour

Photo Gallery

Related Links

Saint Anthony Park Branch History and Photo Album


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