Madison Carnegie Library, 401 6th Avenue, Madison, Minnesota

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Madison Carnegie Library

Madison Public Library
Address: 401 6th Avenue
Madison, Minnesota
Lac qui Parle County, Minnesota
State/province: Minnesota
Year built: 1905-1906
Primary Style: Classical Revival
Additions: 2001-2002: large rear addition by architect Fred Sabongi with Sabongi Consulting Group, Inc. Contractor Peters Construction
Major Alterations: Significant Alterations
Historic Function: Library
Current Function: Library
Architect or source of design: Ralph D. Church
Builder: Gerhard Herriges
Material of Exterior Wall Covering: Brick
First Owner: City of Madison
Notes: Carnegie Grant: $8,000

Renamed 1977: Madison Public Library

Madison Lac qui Parle

Madison Carnegie Library, 401 6th Avenue, Madison, Minnesota
(45.01235° N, 96.1931359° WLatitude: 45°0′44.46″N
Longitude: 96°11′35.289″W
National Register of Historic Places Information
Certification date: August 23, 1985
Level of significance: Local

The Madison 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 1, 1905 the city of Madison secured $8,000 from Carnegie to build the Madison Carnegie Library. Plans were prepared by Minneapolis architect Ralph D. Church and built by the prominent Madison contractor Gerhard Herriges. Church was the architect for several Carnegie libraries in Minnesota and South Dakota. In Minnesota he designed Carnegie libraries for the cities of Anoka, Litchfield, St. Peter and Worthington. Herriges moved to Madison in 1885 and became a well known local contractor who was responsible for building the Madison Milling Company, the Hauge Lutheran Church St Michael's Catholic Church and School, the National Guard Armory and many private residences The Madison Carnegie library was formally opened on January 22, 1906. The first librarian to serve in the Carnegie library was Mrs. Ingeborg Jerde. The librarian’s duties went beyond assisting patrons with books and enquiries - Mrs Jerde was responsible for maintaining the grounds, the building (managing the screens and the storm windows) and also acted as janitor.[1]

While the Carnegie grant was used to construct the building, the Madison 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.

In 1990 the Madison Carnegie Library was renamed the 'Madison Public Library' – a decision made by the Library Board. The original building remained mostly intact until a large rear addition was added in 2001-2002. Madison's Carnegie building therefore continues to function as a public library.

Building Description

The Madison Carnegie Library (now called Madison Public Library) is a one storey Classical Revival style building with a raised basement defined by a stone water table. The building is faced with stretcher bonded tan and dark brown brick by the Menomonee Hydraulic Pressed Brick Company. Kasota stone is used in the sills, keystone and the water table. The most unusual feature of the building is the polygonal iron-covered dome which projects from the flat roof. The dome itself is decorated with an entablature and anthemions (a classical floral motif). Further classical references are evident in the symmetrical, temple-like facade which is a common characteristic of Carnegie Library design. The projecting entrance bay on the main facade has a full pediment supported by paired Ionic columns of smooth limestone. The pediment is adorned with a pressed metal floral relief design in the tympanum along with the words 'Carnegie Library' in metal lettering applied to the frieze. The doorway and surrounding entrance is further decorated with a rounded arched brick entrance, decorative pilasters and leaded glass. Other features include the large ball finials at the corners of the roofline, quoining around the building and the keystoned windows at the basement level.

Interior features such as the original furnishings purchased from the Library Bureau Company of Minneapolis, the stained glass panel beneath the exterior of the dome and the birch woodwork are still intact.[1]

In 2001-2002 a large rear addition was designed by architect Fred Sabongi with Sabongi Consulting Group, Inc. located in Eagan Minnesota. The contractor was Mark Peters with Peters Construction in Montevideo. A detailed account of this building project can be found on the Madison Public Library’s website.

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