Litchfield Carnegie Library, 201 Sibley Avenue South, Litchfield, Minnesota

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Litchfield Carnegie Library

Litchfield Carnegie Library, 1911
Address: 201 Sibley Avenue S
Litchfield, Minnesota
Meeker County, Minnesota
State/province: Minnesota
Year built: 1904
Primary Style: Classical Revival
Major Alterations: Altered
Historic Function: Library
Architect or source of design: Ralph D. Church
Builder: Jeff Shields,
Material of Exterior Wall Covering: Brick
First Owner: City of Litchfield
Notes: Carnegie Grant: $10,000

Litchfield Meeker

Litchfield Carnegie Library, 201 Sibley Avenue South, Litchfield, Minnesota
(45.1249431° N, 94.5280754° WLatitude: 45°7′29.795″N
Longitude: 94°31′41.071″W

The Litchfield Carnegie 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 February 12, 1903 the city of Litchfield secured $10,000 from Carnegie to build the Litchfield Carnegie Library. Plans were prepared by Minneapolis architect Ralph D. Church and the contractor was Jeff Shields. Church was the architect for several Carnegie libraries in Minnesota and South Dakota. In Minnesota he designed Carnegie libraries for the cities of Anoka, Madison, St. Peter and Worthington. The Litchfield Carnegie Library was opened in May 1904.

While the Carnegie grant was used to construct the building, the Litchfield 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 Litchfield Carnegie Library building served its community until 1978 when the library vacated the building due to leakage problems. The city sold the Carnegie Building in 1980; it was subsequently used as a restaurant and now functions as an office building.

Building Description

The Litchfield Carnegie Library is a one storey Classical Revival style building with a raised stone basement. The building is faced with brick and trimmed with stone. The low-pitched roof also once had a dome but this has long since been removed. Situated on a corner section the design of the building is angled to accentuate the site and view from the street front. The main facade consists of a central entrance bay supported by free-standing columns. Classical architectural features are also evident in quoining at each corner of the building and in the decorative entablature. Lettering inscribed on a stone panel on the frieze reads 'Library'.[1]

By 1984 the Carnegie library building had been converted into a restaurant and a small rear addition was built. It is likely to have had some upgrading in order to function as an office building.[1]

Memories and stories


Kathy Matson, Litchfield Librarian from 1972 – 1975 remembers: the library was close to the train tracks and as the train went past you could hear the plaster behind the built-in bookshelves crumbling. (November, 2010)


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