Janesville Free Public Library, 102 2nd Street West, Janesville, Minnesota

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Janesville Free Public Library

Janesville Free Public Library ca.1910
Address: 102 2nd Street W
Janesville, Minnesota
Waseca County, Minnesota
State/province: Minnesota
Year built: 1912
Primary Style: Classical Revival
Historic Function: Library
Current Function: Library
Material of Exterior Wall Covering: Brick
First Owner: City of Janesville
Notes: Carnegie Grant: $5,000

Janesville Waseca

Janesville Free Public Library, 102 2nd Street West, Janesville, Minnesota
(44.117331° N, 93.7075698° WLatitude: 44°7′2.392″N
Longitude: 93°42′27.251″W
National Register of Historic Places Information
Certification date: August 19, 1982
Level of significance: Local

The Janesville Free 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 May 2, 1911 the city of Janesville secured $5,000 from Carnegie to build the Janesville Free Public Library. Plans were drawn and the building was completed in 1912 and Miss Eva Harrington was the first librarian to serve in the Carnegie building.

While the Carnegie grant was used to construct the building, the Janesville 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 site on Main Street was donated by a resident of northern New York, J. Leslie Craig, in memory of his Uncle Dr. R.O. Craig. Local residents also supported the building of the library by raising approximately $2,000.

The Carnegie building continues to function as the Janesville Free Public Library and a community meeting place.

Building Description

The Janesville Free Public Library is a one storey Classical Revival style building with a raised basement and stone water table. The exterior is faced with beige brick and trimmed with stone. The building has a low-pitched hipped roof and gabled entrance covered in asphalt shingles. The main facade is dominated by a projecting entrance with a full pediment supported by two free-standing Tuscan columns. The stone columns are flanked by wide brick pilasters and further stone detailing is used on the window sills and belt course. The pediment does not feature any ornamentation and the tympanum is faced with brick; below this in the recessed doorway is a stone nameplate inscribed with the words: 'Free Public Library'. The library's symmetrical, temple-like facade is a common characteristic found in Carnegie Library design.

Aside from refurbishing the library's windows, the Janesville Free Public Library remains intact without major extensions or additions, and continues to play an important role in the community.[1]

Memories and stories


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