[Graphic] Click here to go directly to the content of this page[graphic] Welcome to Hardin County, Iowa[graphic] Arrowhead that is a link to the National Park Service website
[photo] Princess Cafe sign
[graphic] Link to Hardin County Homepage

[graphic] Link to List of Sites
[graphic] Link to Maps[graphic] Link to Learn More page[graphic] Link to other Itineraries[graphic] Link to NR Homepage

[graphic] A National Register of Historic Places Travel Itinerary

[graphic] Link to Previous Site[graphic] Link to Next Site

Current view of the Eldora Public Library
Courtesy of the Hardin County Community Development Council

The Eldora Public Library, built from 1902 to 1903, is one of the group of libraries (see also the Alden Public Library and Carnegie-Ellsworth Public Library) constructed in Iowa with Carnegie grants and is a vivid reminder of one of the 20th century's most remarkable philanthropic efforts. In 1853, at the age of 18, Andrew Carnegie began work for the Pennsylvania Railroad as a telegrapher. With several shrewd investments, Carnegie soon found himself a wealthy man, but did not begin to accumulate his staggering fortune until he opened his first steel mills in the 1870s. In 1901, Carnegie became the world's richest man when he sold the Carnegie Steel Company for $450 million dollars (approximately $8.6 billion today.) During his years as a giant of American industry, Carnegie established a reputation for ruthlessness, instructing his business partners to brutally put down union strikes and repeatedly slash the wages of the workers who made him rich. After the sale of Carnegie Steel, Carnegie threw his full energies into philanthropy and peace, perhaps hoping that donating his wealth to charitable causes would mitigate the details of its accumulation. In the public memory, he may have been correct. Today he is most remembered for his generous gifts of music halls, educational grants, and nearly 3000 public libraries, among them the Eldora Public Library.

[2 rotating photographs]
Two historic views of the Eldora Public Library
Courtesy of the Hardin County Community Development Council

Representative of the Academic Eclecticism prevalent at the turn of the century, the Eldora Public Library displays design elements from a combination of influences. Its facade is constructed of asymmetrical massing of interesting gables. The exterior exibits a restrained northern Renaissance Revival style, with a Georgian-inspired doorway, the elliptical pediment of which echoes the curved shape of the gable above it. The radiating stack room projects substantially from the rear of the building and is connected to the left-hand reading room through a diminutive semi-octagonal reference alcove. The interior exhibits elaborate medieval inspired craftsman with dark woodwork and contrasting light walls, somewhat atypical of small town libraries. Wall surfaces are divided into panels by dark wood strips. The building is chiefly significant for its interior, and the plan is an interesting variation on the standard sexpartite plan.

The Eldora Public Library is located at 1219 14th Ave. south of the Courthouse in Eldora. It is now an antique store open during normal business hours.


[graphic] Collage of different scenes from Hardin County
[graphic] Link to Settlement Essay[graphic] Link to Transportation Essay[graphic] Link to Agriculture Essay[graphic] Link to Preservation Essay