Chatfield Public Library, 314 Main Street South, Chatfield, Minnesota

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Chatfield Public Library

Chatfield Public Library built 1913-1915
Address: 314 Main Street S
Chatfield, Minnesota
Fillmore County, Minnesota
State/province: Minnesota
Year built: 1913-1915
Primary Style: Prairie School
Additions: 1997: Major re-development doubled size of existing library building, Bob Cline of TSP Architects and Engineers
Major Alterations: Significant Alterations
Historic Function: Library
Current Function: Library
Current Function: Chatfield Historical Society
Other Current Function: Chatfield Historical Society
Architect or source of design: Claude and Starck
Builder: Local Labour including Howard Lipscomb, H.M. Onstine
Material of Exterior Wall Covering: Brick
First Owner: City of Chatfield
Notes: Carnegie Grant: $6,000

Chatfield Fillmore

Chatfield Public Library, 314 Main Street South, Chatfield, Minnesota
(43.8447222° N, 92.1879118° WLatitude: 43°50′41″N
Longitude: 92°11′16.482″W
National Register of Historic Places Information
Certification date: April 27, 1982
Level of significance: Local

The Chatfield Public 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 July 09, 1912 the city of Chatfield secured $6,000 from Carnegie to build the Chatfield Public Library. Plans were prepared by the Madison, Wisconsin architectural firm of Claude and Starck. Claude and Starck were known for their design of public libraries and together designed 25 libraries in Minnesota and Wisconsin, six of which were in Minnesota. Chatfield residents including Howard Lipscomb and H.M. Onstine were responsible for building the library which opened on February 15, 1915.

While the Carnegie grant was used to construct the building, the Chatfield community 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. The site and furnishings for the library were provided by the subscriptions of the Chatfield citizens who enthusiastically supported the library efforts. The first librarian was Mrs Etta Dickson and the assistant was Miss Nettie Johnson.

The Chatfield Public Library continues to function as a library although major development works in 1997 vastly expanded the original Carnegie Library building.

Building Description

The Chatfield Public Library is a one storey Prairie School style building with a raised basement. The brick exterior is worked into decorative panelling and is covered by a low hipped, roof with wide overhanging eaves. The projecting entrance has a generous cornice and is typical of Carnegie library design by being the dominant central feature of the building. The Prairie School style represents only a small portion of Carnegie Libraries found in Minnesota and was an intentional design choice by the architects Edward F. Starck and Louis Claude. Claude had previously worked with both Frank Lloyd Wright and Louis Sullivan and the Chatfield Public Library reflects their influence.[1]

A major $600,000 library expansion and development project was completed in 1998 which doubled the size of the existing library. The architect for this work was Bob Cline of TSP Architects and Engineers of Rochester and the Minneapolis firm Schroeder/Leverington, Inc. was contracted for construction of the library project. The story behind the expansion project again shows the Chatfield community's support and contribution towards their public library.[1]

Memories and stories


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