Montevideo Carnegie Library postcard, c. 1907

The Montevideo City Council is considering options to either renovate, sell, or demolish the historic Carnegie Library at 125 3rd Street North. In 2014, a Historic Building Assessment conducted by Hay/Dobbs estimated that a complete, three-phase restoration project would cost $904,388. No major improvements have been made since that time, and the City says the building has continued to deteriorate.

Any attempt to sell or demolish the building may be complicated by it’s being listed on the National Historic Register. The Library was constructed in 1906 with funds from Andrew Carnegie and the Carnegie Corporation. Between 1899 and 1917, Carnegie, a wealthy industrialist and philanthropist, contributed close to 1 million dollars towards library construction in Minnesota. The Carnegie building served as Montevideo’s public library until 1968, when a new regional library was constructed.

The building now functions as a community meeting space – although it is no longer rented often enough to be profitable. In 2018, the City reported $1,728 of income from rentals, and $2,588 in expenses.

At their meeting on Monday, March 4, the Council decided to table the issue until the spring. A hearing to gather public input will be held at that time.