Placeography:Featured place/2015-10

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Sumner Branch Library, 611 Van White Memorial Boulevard, Minneapolis, Minnesota

On April 03, 1912 the City of Minneapolis secured $125,000 from Carnegie to build four branch libraries for the Minneapolis Public Library system. Plans for the Sumer Branch Library were prepared by the Minneapolis architect Cecil Bayless Chapman of the firm Chapman and Magney. Chapman and his business partner Gottlieb R. Magney designed a number of buildings in Minneapolis such as the Calhoun Athletic and Boat Club (1912), the Grace Evangelical Lutheran Church (1915), and the Saxe Movie Theatre (ca. 1914). The Sumner Branch Library opened to the public on December 15, 1915. The Sumner Library neighborhood branch played a crucial role in the accommodation of new immigrant populations in the early part of the twentieth century. Located on Olson Memorial Parkway, the Sumner Branch was especially helpful to the large influx of Jewish immigrants on the near north side of Minneapolis. The city’s entire Yiddish and Hebrew collections were placed at Sumner. The Sumer Branch Library is a one storey Tudor Revival style building with a raised basement. The original building form consisted of two intersecting gables and is faced with reddish-brown brick. The gabled roof is covered with asphalt shingles. Brick is used in many different styles and patterns to create much of the building’s decoration. For example, the windows are rectangular and are framed by brick surrounds and brick string courses extend from the window divisions across the major exterior walls. The gable ends also use brickwork for ornamentation purposes. This main entrance bay also featured a dominant embattled parapet but this has since been removed. A Tudor arched entrance-way is enclosed by the tower, and a panel of red sandstone above the arch has “Public Library” inscribed in Gothic style. The main floor’s original foyer has a vaulted ceiling, Tudor arched walls and doors with Tudor arched leaded glass. Oak shelving, doors, window seats and even a Tudor inspired fireplace still exist in the Sumner Branch library. Sumner Library will Celebrate 100 years of service on Saturday October 10, 2015. Sumner 100

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