Pipestone Public Library, 217 Hiawatha Avenue South, Pipestone, Minnesota

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Pipestone Public Library

Pipestone Public Library, ca.1905
(Former) Pipestone Public Library, 2011
Address: 217 Hiawatha Avenue S
Pipestone, Minnesota
Pipestone County, Minnesota
State/province: Minnesota
Year built: 1903-1904
Primary Style: Richardsonian Romanesque
Historic Function: Library
Current Function: Senior Citizen Center
Architect or source of design: Joseph Schwartz
Builder: George S. Redmon
Material of Exterior Wall Covering: Stone
First Owner: City of Pipestone
Notes: Carnegie Grant: $10,000

Pipestone Pipestone

Pipestone Public Library, 217 Hiawatha Avenue South, Pipestone, Minnesota
(43.9992286° N, 96.3175866° WLatitude: 43°59′57.223″N
Longitude: 96°19′3.312″W
National Register of Historic Places Information
Certification date: March 3, 1980
Level of significance: Local

The Pipestone 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 22, 1903 the city of Pipestone secured $10,000 from Carnegie to build the Pipestone Public Library. Plans were prepared by Joseph Schwartz of Sioux Falls and the contractor was George S. Redmon of Pipestone. The Pipestone Public Library was completed in 1904.

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

Pipestone's Carnegie building functioned as the public library until 1976 when the library combined with the high school collection thereby forming a community library. The library was then relocated to a new section of the public high school. In the same year the Carnegie building was adapted for use as a local senior citizens' center and it continues function in this capacity today.[1]

Building Description

The Pipestone Public Library is a two storey building designed with a combination of Gothic Revival and Richardsonian Romanesque influences. The building plan is rectilinear in form with the exception of the rounded northeast corner. Although primarily constructed of Sioux quartzite the building is trimmed with jasper stone to highlight particular features. For example, jasper stone is used in the Gothic arched door surround, in the lintels, circular vents and the coping of the stepped roofline. The library structure is also defined by a wide band of jasper stone at the top of the each storey. The main entrance consists of a projecting gable wall with a Gothic arched entry way. Ornamental features found on the entrance include a circular stained glass window above the doorway and a raised relief panel depicting an open book on the front of the gable.[1]

Exterior restoration work and interior renovations occurred in 1976 in order to adapt the library to the needs of the senior citizens center. The Carnegie library building in Pipestone continues to be well maintained and has served as a senior citizens center for over 30 years.

Memories and stories


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