2015 Preservation at its Best, Adaptive Use: Clarinda Carnegie Art Museum
Clarinda’s 1909 Carnegie Library was one of about (2500) libraries in the country funded by the Carnegie Foundation’s library program. The library—like so many in small Iowa towns—is locally significant for its educational, social and cultural contributions to the community. The classical revival style building remained in use until 2004 when the library collection was moved to another location. It was retrofitted for a business, but that business closed in 2011. In 2012 Karen and Robert Duncan purchased the library. According to the Des Moines Register, there was a brief moment when Mrs. Duncan considered moving the library from its original location into Nebraska. Thank goodness they didn’t. Rather, they stabilized the building’s foundation, removed spray-applied fire proofing, removed non-historic partitions, added an elevator and inserted a few other modern amenities. Much of the historic fabric was remaining such as the classical portico, original wood windows with divided light transoms, stained glass windows, and classical columns on the interior. Even the original light fixtures were still in place. The team did exactly what everyone should do when historic fabric is discovered: They left them in place and maintained them.