Saint Anthony Park Library, 2245 Como Avenue West, Saint Paul, Minnesota

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Saint Anthony Park Library

Address: 2245 Como Avenue W
Saint Paul, Minnesota
Ramsey County, Minnesota
State/province: Minnesota
Year built: 1916-1917
Primary Style: Beaux Arts
Additions: 1999: rear addition children's rotunda reading room.
Major Alterations: Altered
Historic Function: Library
Current Function: Library
Architect or source of design: Charles A. Hausler, City Architect
Builder: Cameron and Company
Material of Exterior Wall Covering: Brick
Material of Roof: Ceramic Tile
First Owner: City of Saint Paul
Notes: Carnegie Grant: part of $75,000 granted to the City of Saint Paul for 3 Carnegie Libraries.

Saint Paul Ramsey

Saint Anthony Park Library, 2245 Como Avenue West, Saint Paul, Minnesota
(44.980952° N, 93.193643° WLatitude: 44°58′51.427″N
Longitude: 93°11′37.115″W
National Register of Historic Places Information
Certification date: February 10, 1984
Level of significance: Local

The Saint Anthony Park Branch 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 8, 1914 the city of Saint Paul secured a total of $75,000 from Carnegie to build three public libraries. These included the Saint Anthony Park Branch Library, the Arlington Hills Library and the Riverview Branch Library, and each was built for approximately $26,000. Plans for all three libraries were prepared by the Saint Paul City Architect Charles A. Hausler. Hausler (1889-1971) was a life-long resident of Saint Paul and earned his reputation having studied architecture in New York before working under Louis Sullivan in Chicago. During his architectural career Hausler went into partnership with William Alban (1911-1913) and later with Percy Bentley (1914) and Ernest Hartford (1915-1916). Hausler was Saint Paul's first City Architect (1914-1923) and designed many of the city's schools, libraries, fire stations, and park buildings. In 1922 Hausler was elected to the State Senate but retired after sixteen years of service. He then re-established his architectural practice in 1939 and continued to work almost until his death in 1971. The contractor responsible for building all three branch libraries was Cameron and Company. Construction began on each library in 1916 and they were all completed and opened in the summer of 1917.

While the Carnegie grant was used to construct the building, the city of Saint Paul 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. In Saint Anthony Park a committee was formed to raise funds to purchase a site. The Improvement Association of Saint Anthony Park led by Dr. Nellie Nelson, Mrs Francis Parker and A.J Franke successfully raised over $300,000 to buy the site.

The Saint Anthony Park Branch Library is considered an icon of its neighbourhood and continues to serve its community. It is one of the busiest libraries operating in the Saint Paul Public Library network and has undergone some remodeling and an addition in order to retain its level of service.

Building Description

The Saint Anthony Park Branch Library is a one storey Beaux Arts style building located diagonally on a corner section of Como and Carter Avenues. The building exterior is faced with brown brick and rests on a raised basement of coursed ashlar stone. The building plan was designed to be rectangular in form and has a hipped roof covered with red tiles. The symmetrical, seven bay façade has a central entrance which is accessed by two flight of steps set perpendicular to the building. The main façade and side walls have large rounded arched openings. These arched openings are supported by brick pilasters with sculpted capitals featuring scroll and shell motifs. Decorative brickwork is a key design element of the rounded arches and star motifs in the spandrels add further ornamentation. The frieze has rondels at each end and is dominated by the words 'St. Anthony Park Branch Library'. The cornice is accentuated with dentils divided by gilded balls, egg and dart molding and modillions. All three Saint Paul Carnegie libraries had the same dimensions: 80 feet wide across the façade, by 40 feet deep and 20 feet in height. In terms of design features, the Saint Anthony Branch is considered to be a more ornate version of the Riverview Branch. [1]

Remodeling occurred in 1985 and again more recently in 1999 with a rotunda added to the rear of the library. The rotunda was built to house a children's reading room.[1]

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