West Duluth Branch Library, 701 Central Street North, Duluth, Minnesota (Razed)

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West Duluth Branch Library

West Duluth Branch Library, photo credit: Duluth Public Library
Address: 701 Central Street N
Duluth, Minnesota
Saint Louis County, Minnesota
State/province: Minnesota
Country: United States
Year built: 1912
Year razed: 1992
Primary Style: Classical Revival
Historic Function: Library
Architect or source of design: William J. Sullivan
Builder: Jacobson Brothers
Material of Exterior Wall Covering: Brick
Material of Roof: Ceramic Tile
First Owner: City of Duluth
Notes: 1992: Demolished after being sold to build new West Duluth Public Library

Duluth Saint Louis

West Duluth Branch Library, 701 Central Street North, Duluth, Minnesota (Razed)
(46.7429574° N, 92.1665131° WLatitude: 46°44′34.647″N
Longitude: 92°9′59.447″W

The West Duluth Branch Library was 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 October 7, 1899 the city of Duluth secured $20,000 from Carnegie to build the West Duluth Branch Library. The city received a total of $125,000 in funding to build three public libraries over a period of 15 years. The other two libraries were Duluth Public Library (the main library built 1901-1902) which received $75,000 and the Lincoln Branch Library (1916-1917) which received $30,000. Plans were prepared by local architect William J. Sullivan. William Sullivan was associated for a short time with Ellerbe and Round Architects prior to his partnership with Holstead. Sullivan went on to form an architectural partnership with Abraham Holstead and in 1916-1917 they were commissioned to design the Lincoln Branch Carnegie Library. Holstead and Sullivan went on to design a number of buildings together including the St Louis County Jail (1923), Denfeld Senior High School, Duluth (1926), the Naniboujou Club Lodge (1928) and many others. The West Duluth Branch Library was built by the Jacobson Brothers and was opened to the public on August 15, 1912.

While the Carnegie grant was used to construct the building, the Duluth 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 Carnegie building served as the West Duluth Branch Library until May 1991. The library was vacated when a new West Duluth Branch Library was built on a different site and opened June 17, 1991. The property was then sold to the Duluth school district (ISD 709) on September 8, 1992 and the Carnegie library building was subsequently demolished that year.[1]

Building Description

The West Duluth Branch Library was a one storey Classical Revival style building with a raised basement. The exterior was faced with brick and adorned with cream-coloured terra cotta trim. The building had a low-pitched hipped roof and was originally covered with ceramic tiles. The central projecting portico was decorated with classical design elements including two free-standing terra cotta columns, and ornamental stone carvings flanking the frieze. Inscribed on the frieze above the entrance were the words 'West Duluth Branch'. Extending beyond the cornice was a brick parapet with stone coping. Lettering inscribed on a panel above the entry-way read 'Duluth Public Library'. The West Duluth Branch Library was razed in 1992.

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