Hamline Midway Branch Library, 1558 W. Minnehaha Avenue, Saint Paul, Minnesota

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Hamline Midway Branch Library

Address: 1558 Minnehaha Avenue W
Neighborhood/s: Hamline-Midway, Saint Paul, Minnesota
Saint Paul, Minnesota
Ramsey County, Minnesota
State/province: Minnesota
Country: United States
Year built: 1930
Primary Style: Gothic
Historic Function: Library
Current Function: Library
Builder: G.S. Sweitzer and Sons
Building Permit Number: 40089

Hamline-Midway Saint Paul Ramsey County

Hamline Midway Branch Library, 1558 W. Minnehaha Avenue, Saint Paul, Minnesota
(44.9628785° N, 93.1662275° WLatitude: 44°57′46.363″N
Longitude: 93°9′58.419″W

This is a small neighborhood public library that has been well-loved since its grand opening on October 9th, 1930. It was one of two original Henry Hale Memorial Branch libraries, and the only one of the original 12 branch libraries with a working fireplace. This fireplace is put to use several times a year during the Fireside Reading Series held at the Hamline Midway library and sponsored by the Friends of the St. Paul Public Libraries.

The neighbors in this part of St. Paul known for decades simply as "Hamline" due to the proximity of Hamline University, began advocating for the opening of a branch library in 1907. In 1908 these neighbors began a small lending library in Mrs. Hull's Millinery Shop at the corner of Snelling and Minnehaha Avenue (now home to Lloyd's Pharmacy).

In 1922 the Hamline neighbors donated money to purchase the three lots on which the library currently stands, and they deeded this land to the City of St. Paul for a library to be built. This land was purchased by subscription with several residents contributing as little as $5 and many contributions of $20-$50 towards this land purchase. However, the city stalled and a lawsuit eventually ensued to free up money from the Henry Hale estate for the library to be able to be built.

A rendering of the library appeared in September of 1929 issue of Library News, ground was broken for construction on March 6, 1930, and the grand opening of the library was held October 9th, 1930.

The 1983 St. Paul and Ramsey County Historical Site survey lists some significant architectural details including an "asymmetrical facade with cast concrete detailing. Three sided bay window on west side of main facade. Windows have cement label molding. Segmental arched cement door surround topped by open book with torch symbol and words 'Henry Hale Memorial Library, Hamline Branch.' Cement and brick watertable, cement belt course above windows, brick parapet instead of cornice."

The legal description is "Block 3, Lots 8-9-10, Hamline Syndicate #1"

"A small and pleasing asymmetrical version of the Collegiate style, applied to a public library."[1]



"The Henry Hale Memorial Library, a branch of the St. Paul Public Library, was built in 1930 at a cost of $43,000. It is similar stylistically to the Merriam Park Branch Library on Marshall Avenue. For historical background on the history of the library, see "Ramsey County History" article cited below."

Note: The original Merriam Park Branch library was torn down in [?] and a new library was built in the former location of the original at the corner of Fairview and Marshall Avenues.

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