North Branch Library

Individual Landmark


 1972 North Branch Library

 2006 North Branch Library

Address: 1834 Emerson Avenue North

Neighborhood: Near North

Construction Date: 1893/1914

Contractor: H.N. Leighton Co.

Architect: Fredrick Corser

Architectural Style: Medieval Revival

Historic Use: Public - Library Branch

Current Use: Public - Library Branch

Date of Local Designation: 1984

Date of National Register Designation: 1977

Area(s) of Significance: Architecture, Education

Period of Significance: 1800-1899


Historic Profile: When the North Branch Library opened in 1893 it was recognized as "the first building in the county to be erected solely for use as an open shelf public branch library." The beginnings of the Minneapolis Public Library can be traced to a small room in the basement of North High School, where a limited number of books were available for both the students of the school and the residents of the neighboring community. In 1893 additional classroom space prompted the library to search for new quarters. Land for a new building was donated on the 1800 block of Emerson Avenue North and construction on a new library designed in the medieval revival style commenced. The architect, Fredrick Corser, chose a red brick building with a "basket arch" entry with sculptural stone and terracotta ornamentation. The North Branch set an important precedent for the public library system in Minneapolis.

Photo Credits:

1972, courtesy of The Minnesota Historical Society

2006, Minneapolis CPED

Works Cited:

"National Register of Historic Places – Nomination Study," April 1977.

Updated: February 2007

Last updated Feb 8, 2019



Contact us

Email updates

Find a service

About this site

For employees

For reasonable accommodations or alternative formats, contact 311.
People who are deaf or hard of hearing can use a relay service to call 311 at 612-673-3000.
TTY users can call 612-263-6850.

Para asistencia 612-673-2700, Yog xav tau kev pab, hu 612-637-2800, Hadii aad Caawimaad u baahantahay 612-673-3500. 

Minneapolis 311       ©1997-2020 City of Minneapolis, MN


311 call center

311 TTY relay service

City of Minneapolis Facebook City of Minneapolis Twitter City of Minneapolis YouTube ChaNNEL Minneapolis 311 Watch Minneapolis City Council TV City of Minneapolis LinkedIn

Minneapolis, City of Lakes logo