Major John Rountree donated the land to the city to build a library which was finally finished in 1915. The Carnegie Foundation donated the $12,500 needed. During WWI, the main floor was used as a library while the downstairs was used by the Red Cross. When the city hall burned down, the library was used for all town meetings. The building was also used as a relief station during the depression and for classrooms when the old brick school burned in 1952.
Resting on an elevated basement, this tapestry brick and stucco, one-story library structure has a gable roof of molded red tiles and a gable roofed entrance bay projecting from the front facade. Brick end piers rise through the roof at both ends of the building's front facade, and similar piers also flank the projecting entrance bay. A large wall fireplace chimney, wooden stick ornamentation in the open stuccoed gable ends visually supported by large brackets across the gabled end, a transom window over the side lighted door and elaborate diamond and x-shaped brick patterns in the exterior brick work contribute to the highly decorative nature of this structure.
Stained wood, stained glass in the Arts and Crafts style and a large fireplace characterize the interior of the building.
This architect-designed library structure is architecturally significant as an unusual example of the small library buildings popular in the early 20th century. It is important to Platteville because it is the first library constructed in the city and has remained in its original state, making an important contribution to the architectural history of Platteville.
HISTORICAL BACKGROUND AND SIGNIFICANCE:
The Platteville Carnegie Library was built with a grant from Andrew Carnegie in 1914. The building committee included A. W. Hoosier, Dr. Wilson Cunningham and W. N. Smith. The Library was dedicated in November of 1915.
Grant C. Miller, Fullenwider and Dowling were the Architects and Rose Bros. was the Contractor.
The library building has been owned by Southwest Design, an architectural firm, since circa 1980.
It was built with a $12,500 grant from Andrew Carnegie. The library was moved to a new building, out of this building, in 1975.