Luverne Public Library, 205 Freeman Avenue North, Luverne, Minnesota
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Luverne Public Library
|Address:||205 Freeman Avenue N|
|Rock County, Minnesota|
|Primary Style:||Beaux Arts|
|Secondary Style:||Richardsonian Romanesque|
|Current Function:||Cultural Center - Carnegie Cultural Center|
|Architect or source of design:||W.E.E. Greene and P.N. Gillham|
|Material of Exterior Wall Covering:||Brick|
|First Owner:||City of Luverne|
|Notes:||Carnegie Grant: $10,000|
|National Register of Historic Places Information|
|Certification date:||March 18, 1980|
|Level of significance:||Local|
The Luverne 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 March 27, 1903 the city of Luverne secured $10,000 from Carnegie to build the Luverne Carnegie Library. Plans were prepared by local architect W.E.E. Greene and the contractor was P.N. Gillham. The Luverne Carnegie Library was completed in 1904.
While the Carnegie grant was used to construct the building, the Luverne 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 establishment of a public library in Luverne occurred under the leadership of local lawyer Edwin H. Canfield. Canfield's law office in fact doubled as the library for the first few years after and eventually the city took over the responsibility in 1888. Although Luverne's Library Association requested the funding from Carnegie, it was Cranfield who convinced one of his clients to donate the sum of $2,500 to purchase the library site.
In 1974 the Luverne Carnegie Library expanded its library services and became the Rock County Community Library. It continued to function as a library until a new Community Library was built on a different site. The Carnegie building was then renovated and opened in June 1992 as the Carnegie Cultural Center. The Carnegie Cultural Center and associated Gift Gallery host exhibitions by local Luverne artists and musicians.
The Luverne Carnegie Library is a one storey Beaux Arts style building with Richardsonian Romanesque influences. Situated on a corner lot, the design of the building is hexagonal in shape and is angled to accentuate the site and street-view. The exterior is faced with red brick and which rests on a raised basement of quarry-faced Blue Mound quartzite. This quartzite facing is only used around the sides of the building visible from the street, and red brick is used elsewhere. The southeast façade is dominated by a Beaux Art pedimented portico which features paired, fluted Ionic columns that flank the arched doorway. Ornamental features include the garland-and-swag motif situated in the tympanum of the pediment and beneath this the words: 'Carnegie' sculpted upon the frieze. On the east and south facades facing the street are two bays that have semi-circular arched windows with rusticated stone surrounds. Above these windows a corbelled cornice of quartzite projects from the wall. The projecting entrance has a generous cornice and is typical of Carnegie library design by being the dominant central feature of the building. It is the rusticated stone detailing and general largeness and simplicity of form that give this Beaux Arts building a Richardsonian Romanesque flavor.
At the time of construction significant interior features included an arched quartzite fireplace and oak woodwork and reference desk – features which survived during its time as a library building.