North Branch Library
Address: 1834 Emerson Avenue North
Neighborhood: Near North
Construction Date: 1893/1914
Contractor: H.N. Leighton Co.
Architect: Fredrick Corser
Architectural Style: Medieval Revival
Historic Use: Public - Library Branch
Current Use: Public - Library Branch
Date of Local Designation: 1984
Date of National Register Designation: 1977
Area(s) of Significance: Architecture, Education
Period of Significance: 1800-1899
Historic Profile: When the North Branch Library opened in 1893 it was recognized as "the first building in the county to be erected solely for use as an open shelf public branch library." The beginnings of the Minneapolis Public Library can be traced to a small room in the basement of North High School, where a limited number of books were available for both the students of the school and the residents of the neighboring community. In 1893 additional classroom space prompted the library to search for new quarters. Land for a new building was donated on the 1800 block of Emerson Avenue North and construction on a new library designed in the medieval revival style commenced. The architect, Fredrick Corser, chose a red brick building with a "basket arch" entry with sculptural stone and terracotta ornamentation. The North Branch set an important precedent for the public library system in Minneapolis.
1972, courtesy of The Minnesota Historical Society
2006, Minneapolis CPED
"National Register of Historic Places – Nomination Study," April 1977.
Updated: February 2007
Last updated Nov. 22, 2011