Tuesday, October 7, 2014

Carnegie Libraries: Le Mars Library/Art Center


1903 - The Carnegie Library building was designed and constructed.

The architect was John Werling.

Le Mars contractor Zach Eyres was in charge of construction. Eyres built a number of homes and building in Le Mars, including the Tonsfeldt Round Barn moved in 1981 to the Plymouth County Fairgrounds.

Built on a 100-by-72 foot lot, the 52-by-42 foot one story building is constructed of Lake Superior brown sandstone and St. Paul pressed brick. The pink-buff brick structure features two polished Minnesota granite pillars with a 4.3 foot circumference supporting an granite entrance arch. The entrance arch has a keystone and decorative cornice with the initials AC. Completing the entrance are twelve steps with a mosaic landing.

The first floor trim and floor are of rock maple and red oak. The basement concrete floor was finished with Georgia pine.

It is an adaptation of the Renaissance Revival style which is a typical example of small town library architecture from the early 20th century.

February 1904 - The library is dedicated.

1940's to 1950's - The basement rooms were furnished as a children's library room and community room with kitchen.

1976 - Too small to function as a library the books and contents were moved to a larger, newer library building.

The Carnegie library was refurbished into a Civic Center with offices for the Le Mars Arts Council and Le Mars Chamber of Commerce.

1979 - The building was listed on the National Register of Historic places.

September 1991 - The Chamber of Commerce moved to a former Ben Franklin Store building.

2013 - The Le Mars Arts Council established a working wheelchair lift.

2014 - Through the generous support of the Le Mars City Council, the original maple hard wood floors were restored on the main level and the handicapped accessible restroom was constructed.

Today -The Le Mars Arts Center main floor has two art galleries, a children's activity area and gallery, space for performances/receptions, handicapped accessible bathroom, and kitchen. The lower level has an art room,  meeting/event room,  small pottery area, kitchen and restroom.

Info Source: Le Mars Art Center: History

The wallpaper, floor, desk, tables, chairs, shelf unit, coat rack, trim, railing, banister, light fixtures, (except track lighting), and doors shown in the photos are all original to the building.

Previous articles:
Carnegie Libraries: Intro. and Info.
Carnegie Libraries: Chronology
Carnegie Libraries: Additional Chronology
Sioux City History and Culture by Bicycle Part 53: Sioux City Free Public Museum
Jefferson, Iowa: Jefferson Public Library