North Library

You can read about the history and designation of the North Library historic landmark.






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.

Photo Credits:

1972, courtesy of The Minnesota Historical Society

2006, Minneapolis CPED

Works Cited:

"National Register of Historic Places – Nomination Study," April 1977.

Updated: February 2007

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Historic Preservation




Public Service Center
505 Fourth Ave. S., Room 320
Minneapolis, MN 55415