Wisconsin Public Libraries

Cities A-B

Paper mill barons are among the early philanthropists that funded the first Wisconsin public libraries. Therefore, many of the non-Carnegie libraries are located in the Wisconsin River or Fox River valleys.

In some cases, architectural information comes from Public Documents of the State of Wisconsin, Being the Reports of the Various State Officers, Departments and Institutions (1907).


Designed by W. A. Holbrook, and H. Wildhagen, of Appleton.

(L) E.C. Kropp card.
(R) Building that also served as city hall (1900 - 1939), when the library took over the entire building. Remodeled in 1954; replaced in 1981.


Its precursors were a privately funded reading room and a Free Library Association.

(L) Bedraggled K-Win postcard which differs from the card on R.

(R) Beautiful interior view by Souvenir Post Card, showing a reference desk, oak furniture, marble columns, and gasoliers. This was a totally irresistible card.


Identified via an RPPC identification group on Facebook. This card had languished for over ten years in my drawer of unidentified library buildings.

This building began life as an opera house, as many midwestern libraries did. However, opera fell out of fashion, and not only did this house the town's public library, it held the public restrooms--which got top billing.

It was demolished in the 1960s, and a proper library built in its stead.

Beaver Dam (Williams Free Library)

B.E Lawton Card.

Postcard photographed from the northwest shows a glimpse of the railroad station.

Of the PCK series. Beautiful!

History on a Dodge County Historical Society website. Nearly a hundred years later, it remained in use. It is superceded by the Beaver Dam Community Library, on 311 N. Spring Street.

Night view of its fountain.

The Williams Free Library, designed by Walter Holbrook, was built in 1890 and remodeled in the 1950s. The postcards make the building look menacing, but it doesn't look that way at all in person. Even though it now serves as a museum, the building is maintained well, although the railroad car to its east is a little jarring.

Boscobel (Hildebrand Memorial Library)

(L) Captioned as a Municipal Building. Why the smoke?

(R) The post card was mailed in 1932. If you could see the original, you'd see the building is located at the corner of E. Bluff St. and Wisconsin Ave. This is most certainly true.

Doesn't this combo look like a bank, especially with its hanging clock?

At one point, the Classical Revival Library's web site stated that this is a Claude and Starck building, dating from 1925. Of course, it went on to say it's a Carnegie Library. Its Blogspot post (10/6/15) still makes the claim, but gives details about some renovation.


RPPC, printed in reverse.  I flipped my scan to compensate.


Eventually, this arrangement was replaced. At least the store names allowed me to identify the city, as the card was never mailed.

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Contact me at (my first name) at roadmaps (dot) org.


Scanned images are provided in the spirit of scholarly study. Most are of an age to be in the public domain. However, if you use my scans, please credit this site.