Ortonville Free Library

Built in 1915, the Ortonville Free Library is one of 65 libraries in Minnesota to be built using Carnegie library funds.  Over 2,500 libraries were constructed using Carnegie funds, with roughly 1,600 being constructed within the United States.  The Carnegie grants served as a partnership between the wealthy industrialist and the community.  The grant was for the construction of the actual building, and the community would be responsible for the site, staff, and books.  To ensure the long term commitment of a community, the grant also stipulated that the recipient community would tax themselves at 10% of the grant amount to fund the library.
    The library was designed by Ellerbe & Co., a St. Paul firm founded by Franklin Ellerbe in 1909.  The firm was well known for their work on a variety of educational, commercial, and industrial buildings in Minnesota, their largest project was designing facilities at the Mayo Clinic in Rochester in 1914, and would do more work for the Clinic in 1916.  After Franklin Ellerbe's death in 1921, his son Thomas took over the company.  In 1987 Ellerbe & Co. merged with Welton Becket and Associates of Los Angeles.  The current name, Ellerbe Becket is a combination of the two.  In 2009 the company joined the firm AECOM and still operates to this day.  They are best known for their work on sports stadiums, arenas, and healthcare buildings.  Notable projects include the Ronald Regan Building (home to the Federal Trade Commission) in Washington DC, the Carlson School of Management in Minneapolis, Notre Dame Stadium in Indiana, and the 1990s renovation of Madison Square Garden.
    The actual construction was done by the Carlson-Hasslen Construction Company, Ortonville's oldest construction company, now known as the Hasslen Construction Company after John Carlson's death in 1924.  Five generations later, the firm remains family-owned.

Site Address: 412 N.W. Second St., Ortonville, MN 56278
Phone: 320-839-2494

Monday-Thursday: 11 a.m. - 7 p.m.
Friday: 10 a.m. - 5 p.m.
Saturday: 10 a.m. - 3 p.m.
Sunday: Closed