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Public Libraries of Nebraska

There are either few non-Carnegie libraries, or few postcards of what exists. Many of the libraries shown replaced the cities' Carnegie buildings in the mid-20th century.

Central City (Hards Memorial Library)

Although the Library was founded in 1883 (the Library claims 1882), the Hards (Ebenezer, to be correct) building wasn't built until 1929. Previously, it had existed above a fire house and in a YMCA. Hards was demolished in 1991. The current building is a stylistic homage, albeit plainer.

Hards Memorial Library, Central City, NE

(L) Possibly an E.C. Kropp photo postcard.
(R) Unidentified photo postcard.


Hards Memorial Library, Central City, NE
Chappell, NE public library

Today this is the Memorial Library & Art Gallery. You'd think an art gallery deserves a more aesthetically pleasing building, but there you go.

Postcard by L.L. Cook. 

Fremont (Keene Memorial Library)
Fremont, NE's Keene Memorial Library

Replacement for the demolished Carnegie building. It appears to be on the cusp of an addition itself. 


Dexter Press card for Dunlap Post Card.


Replaced the Carnegie building in 1963. 

Google Street View shows an addition that essentially doubled the Library's space.

Hastings, NE public library

(L) Tribune Graphic Arts card, mailed in 1967.
(R) Pospehil Card Service card.


Hastings, NE public library
Imperial, NE public library

Replaced by the Lied Imperial Public Library.


Auburn Greeting postcard.

Lincoln (Bennett Martin Library)
Bennett Martin Library, Lincoln, NE

Replaced 'Old Main,' nickname for the Carnegie building, between 1960 and 1965.


Dexter Press postcard from 1965. The photo by Larry Witt just screams late Mid-Century Modern, doesn't it?

Minden (Jensen Memorial Library)

This is the first Minden postcard I've seen that wasn't from the Pioneer Village Museum. This 1953 mid-century modern library building looks like a Hollywood coffee shop. It was expanded in 2011, and the addition blends well. 

From 1906 until this building was donated, the library collection was held in the Christian Science hall and in a room in the courthouse.

The postcard, mailed in 1961, is likely an L. L. Cook product, judging from the plate number and the style of printing in the caption.

Nebraska City (Morton-James Public Library)

1906 is quite early for a commercial photo card, by Olson Photograph Co. of Plattsmouth, NE.


'Morton' refers to Joy Morton, the Morton Salt company founder, whose even more famous philanthropic gift was Morton Arboretum, in Lisle, Illinois.

Morton-James Public Library, Nebraska City, NE

The Library's history page has some admitted gaps, but is definite that the red brick building was erected in 1896, gained a three storey stack room in 1932, a subterranean children's room in 1975, and a ca. 2002 addition.


Published by The Simplicity Co., of Chicago.


The Library was founded in 1877, but this outstanding building might not date from then. We do know that it was replaced in 1976 by the 124,500 sq. ft. building shown below.

Early public library, Omaha, NE
W. Dale Clark Public Library
W. Dale Clark Library, Omaha, NE

Published by Dexter Press in 1977. Terrible image of an attractive Mid-Century Modern library building.


Still in use.


Still in use, apparently doubled in size, judging from a Google Street view.

The postcard is a Swopes Photo product. This does not seem to be Elise Swopes, out of Chicago.

Ord, NE public library
Orleans (C.B. Preston Memorial Library)
C.B. Preston Memorial Library, Orleans, NE as seen in an architect's rendering

Still in use. 


The postcard tells us that this was designed by the architects Fiske & Megimnis. The Library closely resembles the rendering, even today.


I bought this as the Carnegie building postcard, and realized this was an older building (1901) when preparing the card for cataloging and posting. Strangely, the slightly larger Carnegie library is across the attractive brick street from this superseded facility, which still stands.

C.U. Williams 'Photo-ette' card, never mailed.

Public Library Building, Plattsmouth, NE
Red Cloud (Auld Public Library)

Dark red brick Neoclassical library building from 1918. William T. Auld seems to have been a meatcutter.

The photo postcard's producer is unknown.

Auld Public Library, Red Cloud, NE
Wakefield (Graves Public Library)

Built in 1915 to memorialize Jay Graves, son of Philo Graves. It has been superseded, and as a museum, is noted for its wrench collection.

Wausa (Lincoln Township Library)
Wausa, NE's Lincoln Township Library

Replaced by the Lied Lincoln Township Library.

No publishing information on this photo postcard.

Weeping Water

In use 1917-2011. According to an article in the Weeping Water Republican in 1915, funding for the tax levy to assure a Carnegie grant is up for a vote. Evidently, the referendum lost. Apparently still extant. It's part of a complex of historic buildings, many constructed of area limestone.

From the McGrew Color Graphics printer:


Weeping Water Academy (1885-1914), now the City Library, and Historical Marker. The oldest Congregational Church Building in Nebraska, 1870. Copied from a church building in Germany. Hand dressed native limestone. Part of the Heritage House Complex, Weeping Water, Nebr.

Card dates to ca. 1970, and was never mailed.

Weeping Water, NE city library
York, NE public library

(L) Photo card, mailed in 1908.
(R) This entire back postcard was mailed in 1907, and shows off the vaguely Romanesque architecture to advantage.

York, NE public library

The Woods library building was built in 1902, remodeled, and expanded in 1931. Replaced ca. 1986 by the Kilgore Memorial Library.

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