Mountain Iron Public Library, 5742 Mountain Avenue, Mountain Iron, Minnesota

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Mountain Iron Public Library

Address: 5742 Mountain Avenue
Mountain Iron, Minnesota
Saint Louis County, Minnesota
State/province: Minnesota
Year built: 1914-1915
Primary Style: Classical Revival
Secondary Style: Italianate
Historic Function: Library
Current Function: Library
Material of Exterior Wall Covering: Brick
First Owner: City of Mountain Iron
Notes: Carnegie Grant: $8,000

Mountain Iron Saint Louis

Mountain Iron Public Library, 5742 Mountain Avenue, Mountain Iron, Minnesota
(47.5326398° N, 92.6221022° WLatitude: 47°31′57.503″N
Longitude: 92°37′19.568″W

The Mountain Iron 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 January 14, 1914 the city of Mountain Iron secured $8,000 from Carnegie to build the Mountain Iron Public Library. The overall cost of construction was $25,000 exclusive of the site. Construction began in 1914 and the library was officially dedicated on July 16, 1915. The first librarian was Miss Stella Stebbins. Carnegie's name is connected not only to the Mountain Iron library but to the history of the Iron Ranges in general; his involvement primarily being with the mining industry in the Vermilion and Mesabi Ranges. The demographics of this mining community did influence the selection of reading material in the Mountain Iron Public Library which had numerous titles in Finnish, Swedish, German, French, Italian and Slovenic languages. [1]

While the Carnegie grant was used to help construct the building, the Mountain Iron 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 continues to serve its community as the Mountain Iron Public Library.

Building Description

The Mountain Iron Public Library is as a one storey Classical Revival style building with Italianate influences. It has a raised stone basement defined by a stone water table. The building is faced with light colored brick and trimmed with stone. The façade is symmetrical in design and has a low-pitched hipped roof that sits atop projecting eaves. The entrance is modest in comparison to many Carnegie libraries; instead of elaborate porticos and columns, the entry-way is framed with stone detailing and pilasters that feature around each corner section of the main building. Italianate features include the projecting eaves, arch-headed windows with keystones, and tall windows on the first floor.

A 1921 report of the layout notes that the main floor had both adult and children's reading rooms, a stock room and office. The basement included a men's room, smoking room, kitchenette and an auditorium that could seat 100 people. The interior and exterior of the library was deemed to be elegantly finished. [1]

Memories and stories


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