Placeography:Featured place/2014-12

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Walker Community Library, 2901 Hennepin Avenue, Minneapolis, Minnesota

Thomas Barlow Walker was involved in many aspects of Minneapolis art and culture. He was a member of the Minneapolis Athenaeum, the first lending library in Minneapolis, established in 1859. He led the progressive wing of Athenaeum members in advocating for a Public Library, established in 1885 with the main library opening in 1889. In the 1870’s Walker began collecting paintings and other works of art for his house on 8th and Hennepin Ave. In 1879 Walker built a gallery between his residence and his carriage house to display 20 paintings. This was the first public gallery in the Midwest. He collected landscapes, portraits, historical paintings and bronzes, miniatures, classical and Asian art. By 1892 Walker opened three more gallery rooms and also was contributing art to the public library's art gallery its location at 10th and Hennepin Ave. The Walker Branch was first envisioned in 1909, when Minneapolis Library Board member Thomas B. Walker donated two lots at 29th and Hennepin worth $42,700 to the Library Board. In 1910 Paul Jerome Jackson was selected as the project's architect. On June 13, 1911, the Walker Branch Library celebrated its grand opening. The first librarian was Lucy C. Dinsmore, who served from 1911-1925 The new Walker Community Library, 2880 Hennepin Avenue South opened in 1981. It was designed by Myers & Bennett and built by George F. Cook Construction. The old library closed on February 7, 1981 and the new library opened on February 23. 1981. In the Summer of 2014 the original Walker library was For Sale: brochure

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