Dawson Carnegie Library, 677 Pine Street, Dawson, Minnesota

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Dawson Carnegie Library

Address: 677 Pine Street
Dawson, Minnesota
Lac qui Parle County, Minnesota
State/province: Minnesota
Year built: 1917-1918
Primary Style: Classical Revival
Major Alterations: Intact
Historic Function: Library
Current Function: Office
Architect or source of design: A.H. Foss
Builder: Constructed by local labour under supervision of E.E. Lang, building supervisor for contractor John Schilt
Material of Exterior Wall Covering: Brick
Material of Roof: Asphalt Shingles
First Owner: City of Dawson
Notes: Carnegie Grant:$9,000

Dawson Lac qui Parle

Dawson Carnegie Library, 677 Pine Street, Dawson, Minnesota
(44.9288945° N, 96.0556896° WLatitude: 44°55′44.02″N
Longitude: 96°3′20.483″W
National Register of Historic Places Information
Certification date: August 15, 1985
Level of significance: Local

The Dawson Carnegie 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 31, 1916 the city of Dawson secured $9,000 from Carnegie to build the Dawson Carnegie Library. Plans were prepared by the Norwegian born architect Andrew H. Foss of Elbow Lake, Minnesota. Foss has been noted as one of Minnesota's few practicing architects at the turn of the century nomination and with his son Magnus - who joined him in 1910 - they designed hundreds of commercial buildings, schools, churches, and private residences in Minnesota and North and South Dakota. The Carnegie library was constructed by local labor under the supervision of E.E Lang who was the building supervisor for contractor John Schilt of Redwood Falls. On October 1, 1918 the Dawson Carnegie Library was opened and within the first six months housed 10,000 volumes of books.[1]

While the Carnegie grant was used to construct the building, the Dawson 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 city purchased the present site for $1, 800.

In 1998 a new public library was built in Dawson. The Dawson Carnegie Library was purchased by a law firm and has been retrofitted for use as offices.

Building Description

The Dawson Carnegie Library is a one storey Classical Revival style building with a raised basement defined by a stone water table. The building is faced with stretcher bonded brown brick and trimmed with smooth gray limestone. The hipped roof is covered with asphalt shingles. Further classical references are evident in the symmetrical, temple-like facade which is a common characteristic of Carnegie Library design. Consisting of seven bays, the main facade features a projecting entrance bay with a full pediment supported by paired Ionic columns flanked by square brick pilasters. The words 'Carnegie Library' in metal lettering is applied to the frieze.

At the time of construction the Carnegie library was furnished with oak tables and chairs and shelving manufactured by the Library Bureau Company of Minneapolis. Some interior alterations were made in the 1960s but the exterior has remained intact.

In 1998 the Carnegie building became home to the Tollefson Law Office. Updates have included the electrical and heating systems, and a new asphalt shingles roof replaces the existing shingles using the same type and design. The original woodwork has been kept and minimal alteration has occurred.

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