Detroit Lakes Library, 1000 Washington Avenue, Detroit Lakes, Minnesota

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Detroit Lakes Library

Detroit Lakes Public Library built 1913
Address: 1000 Washington Avenue
Detroit Lakes, Minnesota
Becker County, Minnesota
State/province: Minnesota
Year built: 1913
Primary Style: Prairie School
Additions: 1988: Addition by Meyer, Scherer, and Rockcastle
Historic Function: Library
Current Function: Library
Architect or source of design: Claude and Starck
Builder: August Randolph
Material of Exterior Wall Covering: Brick
Material of Roof: Ceramic Tile
First Owner: City of Detroit Lakes
Notes: Carnegie Grant: $10,000

Detroit Lakes Becker

Detroit Lakes Library, 1000 Washington Avenue, Detroit Lakes, Minnesota
(46.816108° N, 95.85201° WLatitude: 46°48′57.989″N
Longitude: 95°51′7.236″W
National Register of Historic Places Information
Certification date: March 16, 1976
Level of significance: Local

The Detroit Lakes 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 December 23, 1911 the city of Detroit Lakes secured $10,000 from Carnegie to build the Detroit Lakes Library. Plans were prepared by the Madison, Wisconsin-based architectural firm of Claude & Starck. Claude & Starck were known for their design of public libraries and together designed 25 libraries in Minnesota and Wisconsin, six of which were in Minnesota. The general contractor was local Detroit Lakes resident August Randolph. The library was completed in 1913.

While the Carnegie grant was used to construct the building, the Detroit Lakes 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 Detroit Lakes Library has functioned continuously as a library but a new addition has vastly expanded the original Carnegie Library building.

Building Description

The Detroit Lakes Library is a one storey Prairie School style building with a raised basement. The brick library is covered with a low hipped, red tile roof. Beneath the wide over-hanging roof is a frieze executed in the style of Louis Sullivan and considered one of the most notable features of the building. Evidence of the Prairie School style can be seen in the form and details of the building and include: the leaded stained glass windows, terra cotta panels, and the natural relationship between the structure and its site. 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 Detroit Lakes Library reflects their influence.[1]

A major library expansion and development project was completed in 1989. The new addition was by Jeffrey Sherer of the Minneapolis architectural firm Meyer, Scherer and Rockcastle and T.F Powers of Fargo, North Dakota was the general contractor. The new addition worked to complement the Prairie School style of the existing building and is visible from the roof and windows to the doors and furniture.

Memories and stories


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Related Links

Wikipedia - Detroit Lakes, Minnesota


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