Library History

In 1902 the president of Buena Vista College, REV. E. E. Reed came up with the plan, submitted to Andrew Carnegie, to donate land for a library if it would be on college lands as a way that both the public and college could use it. This plan was met by local opposition because the town did not want the library on college lands though they were interested in the Carnegie grant.

Following this, Storm Lake contacted the Carnegie foundation about a grant for a library. With $10,000 granted if certain conditions were met, the city passed a library levy and a sight on 5th street was chosen. The construction firm of J. M. Russell and Park Brothers were awarded the contract with the bid including everything from heating and plumbing, to lighting. Extra funds were raised to purchase furniture and other furnishings.

The library was constructed of red sandstone and gray pressed brick. The designed included a small turret and large bay windows. Many books were donated before the library formally opened and on September 29, 1906 the building officially opened to the public.

In the late 1960s, with new buildings codes coming into effect, the Carnegie library no longer was up to code and a new library was constructed across the street from the new Buena Vista Court house and just down the street from the old Carnegie Library. The Paul Park Company was the general contractor on the building and the Architects, who also designed the Court House, were Frevert and Ramsey. The new building officially opened in 1971 and the old Carnegie library was sold and is currently Santa's Castle holiday exhibit and gift shop. 

Carnegie LibrarySLPL summer
Original Carnegie Library Current Library Building


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