Two Harbors Public Library, 320 Waterfront Drive, Two Harbors, Minnesota

From Placeography

Jump to: navigation, search
Edit with form

Two Harbors Public Library

ca 2009
Address: 320 Waterfront Drive
Two Harbors, Minnesota
Lake County, Minnesota
State/province: Minnesota
Country: United States
Year built: 1909
Primary Style: Classical Revival
Additions: 1983: addition to the original Carnegie Library for accessibility and to expand the space.
Major Alterations: Some/mostly intact
Historic Function: Library
Current Function: Library
Architect or source of design: Austin Terryberry
Material of Exterior Wall Covering: Brick
Material of Foundation: Stone
First Owner: City of Two Harbors
Notes: Carnegie Grant: $15,000

Two Harbors Lake County

Two Harbors Public Library, 320 Waterfront Drive, Two Harbors, Minnesota
(47.0220158° N, 91.6710248° WLatitude: 47°1′19.257″N
Longitude: 91°40′15.689″W
National Register of Historic Places Information
Certification date: July 31, 1986
Level of significance: Local

The Two Harbors 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 February 10, 1908 the city of Two Harbors secured $10,000 from Carnegie to build the Two Harbors Carnegie Library. This sum increased by $5,000 in August 1908 when the city’s request for additional funding was approved. Plans were prepared by Duluth architect Austin Terryberry. Terryberry was well known in Two Harbors as he had designed the Two Harbors City Hall in 1906. Many aspects of the Carnegie library's construction were carried out with local labour. For example, the modern heating system was installed by Mr Haugstein and Mr Johnson, the plumbing and fixtures by L.R Erickson, and electric fixtures and wiring by F.J Sheehan. The Two Harbors Carnegie Library was completed in 1909 and officially dedicated on July 20, 1909. At the time of opening the library contained 481 books; it now houses 33,000 items for lending.

While the Carnegie grant was used to construct the building, the Two Harbors 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 site initially chosen for the library was at the northwest corner of Poplar (Waterfront) and 2nd Avenue. However, the citizens of Two Harbors had other ideas about a suitable site and presented the city council with a petition requesting the site be changed. In December 1908 the agreed location was the southeast corner of 4th Avenue and Poplar. The cost of the grounds was $2,400.

The Carnegie building continues to function as the Two Harbors Public Library. The library is used by both residents and the many visitors to the North Shore of Minnesota.

Building Description

The Two Harbors Carnegie Library is a one storey Classical Revival style building with a raised rusticated stone basement defined by a smooth stone water table. The building is faced with Twin City pressed brick and trimmed with red cut sandstone. The building is covered with a low-pitched hipped roof. Classical references are evident in the symmetrical, temple-like facade which is a common characteristic of Carnegie Library design. The main facade features a projecting entrance with a full pediment and decorated tympanum. The words 'Carnegie Library' in raised lettering are applied to the frieze which rests upon two free-standing stone columns flanked by quoined brick pillars. Quoining continues on each corner of the building and the doorway is surrounded by a semi-circular brick archway. The windows of the library are highlighted with a thick stone lintel and thin stone sill.[1]

At the time of construction the interior floor was finished in golden oak and the basement was finished in Georgia pine with maple floors.

In 1983 a new addition of light colored brick was constructed on the south side in order to provide an extra 4,000 square feet as well as an accessible street level entrance. The one storey addition was designed by Architectural Resources and was partly funded by the Iron Range Resources Rehabilitation Board (IRRRB).

Memories and stories


65}px This place is part of the
Minnesota Carnegie Libraries Tour

Photo Gallery

Related Links


    Personal tools
    [ snubnosed]