Public Libraries of Iowa
Recently divided into I-S and T-Z. Please change any appropriate bookmarks and links.
(L) There are two interesting details on the L.L. Cook photo card. One is the porcelain 'Public Library' plaque to the left of the entry. The other is the decoration above the door. To me it looks like Batgirl playing a zither, but I suspect it's really one of those 1890s stylized women reading a book.
(R) C.U. Williams postcard.
Per the site 'Small Town Gems,' this was known as the Munson (1893-5) Building, and became the library sometime thereafter. Whether it's still the library is unknown to me.
As for the building itself, I would hazard an educated guess that it's French Gothic, but a case could be made for Empire or Italianate.
According to the Keokuk city history, the first library building dates to 1883, at the corner of 3rd & Main. It became a public library in 1894. That address today shows a struggling shopping center (2012). It's hard to believe that the next building wasn't finished until 1962.
If you're curious, the statue is of Civil War General Samuel Curtis. It now resides in a city park.
C.U. Williams "Photo-Ette," never mailed, but with an 1913 message.
Morning Sun (Mellinger Memorial Library)
Mailed in 1949, this is one of my favorite cards, which includes a dusty, tired-looking car and old-fangled stop signs with cat-eye reflectors. However, the library is brand-spankin' new, built in that Deco style.
Not very visible in the scan are the two tower clocks. One reads slightly before 4:00, the other, 2:40.
Dedicated in 1937, and built from the remnants of a foundation fortune lost in the Depression, this building is still in use.
Muscatine (Musser Public Library)
(L) A lovely early card, shows a horse-drawn open carriage and various people going about their day. The composition resembles that of Tuck postcards.
Muscatine has a fascinating history, but along with many other Mississippi River cities, it has gone into a decline.
This was a spectacular Romanesque library, built of Portage red sandstone and funded by P.M. Musser. The replacement library is not nearly as grand.
The building shown was renovated in 1965, but was then replaced in 1970. Not entirely happy with that building, the Musser family funded another addition in 1972.
The L.L. Cook card is the most accurate view of the Library. The front of a car, probably from the early 1930s, intrudes upon the scene. Public Library is cut into the stone surrounding the entry, and another building stands in the background.
L.L. Cook publishers, from Milwaukee, should not be confused with the religious material publisher from Elgin, IL. L.L. Cook postcards generally feature medium sized cities, including street scenes and civic buildings.
Delicately tinted Litho-chrome brand card, mailed 1909.
Nevada is a Lincoln Highway city, as is Creston.
Built in the early 1900s, replaced in 1989, demolished in 1990.
Information from the library history page.
Formed in 1909, built in 1929. Replaced in 2006.
Appears to be still standing, but possibly used for storage.
L.L. Cook seldom makes a mistake on their cards, but this one is captioned 'Olwein, Iowa.'
It was inscribed for mailing in 1948, but if mailed, it was sent in an envelope.
Sterling Quality card, possibly by CoMo Photo/L.L. Cook. Mailed in 1918, during the wartime postage hike.
Saint Ansgar (Nissen Library)
The first library was unfortunately demolished in 1929 when the Champlin gas station next door exploded.
This building, its replacement, was built in 1930. It bears an addition.
The back of the card has another opinion, stating:
Not so large, but very nice and it was rebuilt and moved from Main St. (about 6 blks. south). Written 18 December 1959.
1892 - ?
This library building predated the Carnegie building in Sioux City. Its surprisingly large size stems from the inclusion of the Library within City Hall. Sometime between 1950 and 1986 the building burnt.
I don't think a Champlin station was involved.
The card was postmarked in 1910 and has an evenly divided back.
The very definition of utilitarian.
I don't know if this was the hardware store in which the Library was originally housed, or the 1947 building. If the latter, it's still in use.
L.L. Cook postcard, never mailed.
Earl Bardach postcard.
By McGrew Color Graphics.
Earl Bardach postcard.
Founded in 1934. It's unclear if the building, still extant, still functions as a library.
Sutherland (General N. B. Baker Library)
Founded by William Huston and Roma Wheeler Woods, Sutherland's library is named after the man who brought the collection together, the former governor of New Hampshire.
Postcard ID'd by annotation, and comparing with the image on Google Street Views. There has been little change to the building, except for a snoutlike porch for the entry. However, a 2007 flood nearly wiped the building off the map.