Mapleton Public Library, 104 1st Avenue North East, Mapleton, Minnesota

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Mapleton Public Library

Mapleton Public Library, 2009. Photo credit: Bobak Ha'Eri
Address: 104 1st Avenue NE
Mapleton, Minnesota
Blue Earth County, Minnesota
State/province: Minnesota
Year built: 1910
Primary Style: Classical Revival
Major Alterations: Some/mostly intact
Historic Function: Library
Historic Function: Meeting Hall
Other Historic Function: Meeting Hall
Current Function: Library
Architect or source of design: Claude and Starck
Builder: George Ruh
Material of Exterior Wall Covering: Brick
Material of Roof: Asphalt Shingles
Material of Foundation: Concrete
First Owner: City of Mapleton
Notes: Carnegie Grant: $5,000

Original roof material: Ceramic Tile

Mapleton Blue Earth

Mapleton Public Library, 104 1st Avenue North East, Mapleton, Minnesota
(43.9277026° N, 93.9576726° WLatitude: 43°55′39.729″N
Longitude: 93°57′27.621″W
National Register of Historic Places Information
Certification date: December 18, 2009
Level of significance: Local

The Mapleton 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.



On March 25, 1905 the city of Mapleton secured $5,000 from Carnegie to build the Mapleton Public Library. With an estimated population of 1000 in 1908 (the year the money was handed to the city), Mapleton was the smallest municipality in Minnesota to receive a Carnegie grant. George Ruh, 'Local Architect and Contractor', was responsible for the library's floor plans, while Claude and Starck were commissioned to design the exterior of the building. The Madison, Wisconsin-based architectural firm of Claude and Starck were known for their design of public libraries and together designed 25 libraries in Minnesota and Wisconsin. Six of these were in Minnesota. The library was dedicated and opened to the public on February 11, 1910.[1].

While the Carnegie grant was used to construct the building, the Mapleton 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. Three lots were purchased by the city at First and Main Streets for the new Carnegie building.

The Mapleton Public Library continues to function as a library.

Building Description

The Mapleton Public Library is a one storey Classical Revival style building with a raised basement defined by a Kasota stone water table. The pressed brick exterior features different hues of brick that distinguish the basement and first storey levels. The low hipped roof was originally covered with ceramic tiles but these were replaced by asphalt shingles in about 1980. Classical Revival influences are apparent in such decorative details as the pediment, frieze and architraves. The projecting entrance with a full triangular pediment is typical of Carnegie library design and is the dominant feature of the building. The entrance is further emphasized by the use of Kasota stone in the pair of Tuscan columns flanking the door and in a stone slab that reads 'Public Library'. Kasota stone is of significance to Mapleton and is quarried approximately 25 miles from the city. The library committee therefore specified that this local product would be an important material in their Carnegie library building.

Original parts of the interior that still exist include the recently restored plaster ceiling, red oak shelving, window trim and other woodwork features. Since the 1990s alterations have included the replacement of windows and exterior painting.

Memories and stories


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Image:Sarah--Mapleton Public Library Construction.jpg

Mapleton Public Library under construction ca.1909

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