Preservation Iowa’s Most Endangered 2018: Carnegie Library, Rockwell City (Calhoun County)
Completed in 1909 with city support and a grant from the Carnegie Foundation, this brick building served for 90 years as both the city library and community center. The structure hosted not only library patrons but also 4-H meetings, civic club meetings, fundraising luncheons, bridal showers, birthday parties, family gatherings, and many other community social activities until a new library and community center was constructed in 2008. It sits on a historic city square along with the Calhoun County Courthouse and is one of two Carnegie library buildings still standing in Calhoun County. The building retains many of its original exterior design elements and interior woodwork.
Since the re-location of the library and private ownership, the structure has been used mainly as a personal storage facility. During this time, the building has been without consistent internal temperature control and general maintenance needs for the exterior and interior have not been met. City officials are afraid that on the present course the building will become a public hazard in a few years
Currently, Calhoun County Economic Development has begun efforts to encourage the Rockwell City Council to obtain the Carnegie Library and others in the historic town square in efforts to re-establish them as commercial buildings and encourage growth for businesses. To that end the City has started working with the current owners to purchase the building and resolve tax liens currently on the structure. The plan is to then place it up for bid which would include restoration/construction plans, timelines for the building, and a viable business plan.
Preservation Iowa’s Most Endangered Property program was started in 1995 and implemented to educate Iowans about the special buildings and historic sites that are slowly and gradually slipping away from us. In the past 20 years, Preservation Iowa has designated over 140 archaeological sites, churches, landscapes and a variety of other buildings.
The full list of Preservation Iowa’s 2018 Most Endangered Properties includes:
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