West Duluth Public Library

The West Duluth Public Library. (Image: Duluth Public Library)

701 North Central Avenue | Architect: William J. Sullivan | Built: 1912 | Lost: 1992

While West Duluth had no official library until 1912, beginning in 1882 the Women’s Christian Temperance Union operated reading rooms in several different West Duluth locations. The Duluth Public Library took over in 1896, sponsoring the West Duluth Reading Room with $105.

In 1910 the library board purchased a lot on Central Avenue and Elinor Street. Duluth architect William Sullivan drew up plans for a one-story brick building with terra cotta trim, and in 1912 the library (shown below, date unknown) was constructed with a $20,000 grant from Andrew Carnegie.

More than just a book depository, the West Duluth Public Library served as a community center, even offering a weekly “baby clinic” in 1920. As early as the 1930s the facility felt the pinch for more space. In 1936 the Duluth Business Men’s Club offered $23,000 to see through a planned expansion of the facility, but the addition was never built. The library continued to serve West Duluth until the 1991 construction of the West Duluth Community Center, which includes a branch library. The old library was then demolished; its lot was used as a playground for the 1957 Laura MacArthur Elementary School until that school’s 2011 demolition.