Eveleth Public Library, 614 Pierce Street, Eveleth, Minnesota

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Eveleth Public Library

Eveleth Public Library ca.1920
Address: 614 Pierce Street
Eveleth, Minnesota
Saint Louis County, Minnesota
State/province: Minnesota
Country: United States
Year built: 1914
Primary Style: Classical Revival
Additions: 1914: front half of the library was finished

1928: almost doubled the area to the rear.

2001: An elevator was also added for compliance.

Major Alterations: Some/mostly intact
Historic Function: Library
Current Function: Library
Current Function: Department of Revenue Offices
Other Current Function: Department of Revenue Offices
Architect or source of design: William J. Sullivan (original); Elwin H. Berg (1928 addition)
Material of Exterior Wall Covering: Brick
First Owner: City of Eveleth
Notes: Carnegie Grant: $15,000

Eveleth Saint Louis

Eveleth Public Library, 614 Pierce Street, Eveleth, Minnesota
(47.4626025° N, 92.5361942° WLatitude: 47°27′45.369″N
Longitude: 92°32′10.299″W

The Eveleth 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.



Little is definitely known about library service in Eveleth’s early years, during which time the mining town was filled with saloons and muddy streets. Eveleth’s boom town atmosphere prompted Eveleth Mining News publisher H. C. Garrott in 1903 to write to steel baron Andrew Carnegie regarding a grant for a public library for Eveleth. After years of correspondence from Eveleth citizens, Carnegie finally granted $15,000 on February 20, 1911, toward the construction of a public library building, for which ground was finally broken in July 1913.

Architect William J. Sullivan had experience in Carnegie Library design, having been the architect responsible for the West Duluth Library (1912). Sullivan was associated for a short time with Ellerbe and Round Architects prior to forming a partnership with Abraham Holstead. Holstead and Sullivan went on to design the Lincoln Branch Carnegie Library (1916-1917) and also remodel the Hibbing Carnegie Library (1917). Other buildings they worked on include the Saint Louis County Jail (1923), Denfeld Senior High School, Duluth (1926), the Naniboujou Club Lodge (1928), and many others.

The Eveleth Public Library was officially opened to the public on Wednesday, July 1, 1914. The Library Board extended a cordial invitation to all citizens of Eveleth to be present and enjoy the short opening program and inspect the building. At 2:30 p.m., children became the first community members to walk through the doors of the beautiful new library, where the young people were treated to stories read by children’s librarians from Hibbing and Virginia. Later that evening, over 500 citizens of Eveleth and its neighboring towns attended a brief dedication program, featuring musical selections and speeches, in honor of the library and the people who made its construction possible. The Eveleth Library Board, Head Librarian Margaret Hickman, and the Eveleth Art Club organized the day’s events, which concluded with a reception in the library’s Club Room where the Art Club served frappe and other refreshments.

The library immediately became a valuable asset for the growing city, as evidenced by the hundreds of meetings, performances, and other library events held in the past 100 years. To accommodate a growing collection of books and to create additional work and meeting space, an addition designed by Elwin H. Berg was constructed in 1928, doubling the size of the library. The Eveleth Public Library havened community members during the Great Depression, hosted PTA meetings, sponsored poetry contests, and continued to serve as a home for knowledge and enlightenment. Due to a financial crisis for the City of Eveleth, the public library moved to the Eveleth Senior High library in 1968, an arrangement which lasted until 1973. Since then, the library has been retrofitted, and a new addition housing an elevator and a handicapped-accessible restroom was built in 2002. [1]

Building Description

The Eveleth Public Library is a one storey Classical Revival style building with a raised basement and stone water table. The exterior is faced with brick and adorned with cream-coloured terra cotta trim. The building has a flat roof and the roofline is defined by a brick parapet with stone coping. The projecting entrance bay on the main facade has a full pediment supported by two free-standing columns. The pediment is adorned with a carved floral motif in the tympanum and below this the words 'Eveleth Public Library' are inscribed upon the frieze. This symmetrical temple-like facade was a common characteristic found in Carnegie Library architecture; other classical-style features include the main doorway's stone surround with carved scrolls placed at either side, decorative pilasters located between each window and keystone detailing above the fenestration.

Although the front section of the library was finished in 1914, an addition of almost the same size was constructed to the rear of the original building in 1928. The two halves were designed by different architects but are in almost perfect harmony with each other. In 2001 an elevator was installed to make the library comply with accessibility standards. This addition also matched exterior brick and stone styles and motifs. [1]

Memories and stories


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