Culminating Project Title
Date of Award
Culminating Project Type
History: Public History: M.A.
College of Liberal Arts
Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 4.0 License.
Keywords and Subject Headings
Historic Preservation, Carnegie Libraries, Minnesota
American interest in historic preservation has been on the rise since the late 1960s. Efforts, successful and unsuccessful, to save historic landmarks have involved everyone from historians and city planners to average citizens fighting to save their memories. Much has been written about the process of preservation, but very little has been said about the reasons why one historic structure thrives while another languishes or is lost to the wrecker.
This thesis provides background on the Carnegie library building program and historic preservation in America, and includes a case study of four Minnesota Carnegie library buildings - built during the same time period, for the same purpose, and paid for by the same funds - yet having different fates. Analysis of these four libraries reveals several factors that affect an historic structure’s viability, including 1) building location and shifts within communities, 2) aging buildings facing new legislation and technology, 3) maintenance, renovations and repurposing, and 4) the local population’s attitude toward preservation.
Understanding these variables can help historians and preservationists, architects and city planners, and concerned citizens save money, effort, ecological resources, and collective memories of yesterday’s (and tomorrow’s) historic landmarks.
Hawkinson, Karah, "The Register and the Wrecking Ball: A Case Study of Four Minnesota Carnegie Libraries and What They Reveal About the Destruction and Preservation of Historic Structures" (2016). Culminating Projects in History. 8.