Tuesday, November 3, 2015
Carnegie Library, Lawther Library, Red Wing, Minnesota
On December 14, 1901 the city of Red Wing secured $15,000 from Carnegie to build the Carnegie-Lawther Free Library. This initial sum was then raised to $17,000 to complete the building. The name 'Lawther' in the library's title recognises James Lawther who donated the land to the city in memory of his son. Plans were prepared by architect A.F. Gauger and the contractor was W.J. Longcor. The library was dedicated and opened on October 24, 1903.
While the Carnegie grant was used to construct the building, the Red Wing 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.
With the need for expansion, the city of Red Wing determined the Carnegie building could not be remodelled or expanded. The Carnegie-Lawther Free Library was demolished in 1968 and the new public library was completed in 1969.