Old East Lake Library

You can read about the history and designation of the Old East Lake Library historic landmark.






Address: 2916 Lake Street East

Neighborhood: Longfellow

Contractor: Unknown

Architect: Jerome Paul Jackson

Architectural Style: Utilitarian

Historic Use: Public - Library Branch

Current Use: Commercial - Retail

Date of Local Designation: 1997

Date of National Register Designation: N/A

Area(s) of Significance: Social History; Significant Person

Period of Significance: 1924-1976

Historic Profile: In the years Minneapolis struggled to accommodate new immigrant populations, the East Lake branch of the Minneapolis Public Library system played an important role as a neighborhood and educational center. East Lake was one of thirteen branches established under the leadership of Gratia Countryman, the Chief Librarian from 1904 to 1936. Noted as the first woman librarian responsible for a system the size of that of Minneapolis, Countryman’s mission was to bring people closer to books. Designed by Jerome Paul Jackson, who was also responsible for the Walker and Seven Corners branches, the East Lake Branch was utilitarian in style, lacking ornamentation. The East Lake Branch served the community for approximately fifty years, until a new structure opened in 1976 at 2727 East Lake Street. By that time, the Lake Street Corridor had experienced significant decline, as suburban shopping malls drew patrons with free parking spaces and broader selection. The former East Lake Branch was sold and now houses a retail outlet.

Photo Credits:

1924, Charles J. Hibbard, courtesy of The Minnesota Historical Society

2006, Minneapolis CPED

Works Cited:

Landscape Research, "City of Minneapolis Heritage Preservation Commission Registration Form," May 1996.

Updated: February 2007

Contact us

Community Planning & Economic Development

Historic Preservation




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