The Free Public Library in Hutchinson, Minnesota, was first organized in 1874 by early settlers of the area. Its first books were housed in the pharmacy’s back room and later at the school. Then, in 1904, construction began on a dedicated library building using a $12,500 grant from Andrew Carnegie.
It was designed by architect Edward S. Stebbins. (He also designed the iconic ‘Mary Tyler Moore House’ in Minneapolis.) The library sits inside the town’s pretty public square. Hutchinson’s downtown shops and businesses lined the other side of the street all around the square, making the library a convenient stop when running errands or going to work.
The exterior of the building is trimmed in Kasota limestone and buff-colored brick. Inside, the library has an open central area with a series of columns that form an atrium. Open stacks and reading rooms are located on two sides of the colonnade. Library offices could be found in the basement.
When the library was dedicated on June 20, 1905, hundreds of people filled the square waiting for their chance to get inside and see the new library. The building remained pretty much the same for 80 years, almost frozen in time as the books inside it were the only thing that changed. Then, in 1985, the library space was nearly tripled when an addition was built along Hassan Street and connected to the Carnegie building.
The addition is pretty unsympathetically designed and gives off a rather boring view of the library from the street. However, if you walk into the square and view it from there, the Carnegie building still shines. Recent maintenance and repairs have been done to the older building, which clearly shows that the community continues to support the library and celebrate its history. You can find the library on Hassan Street NE, just within North Park.