Baileys Harbor Town Hall and McArdle Library
2392 County Trunk Highway F, Baileys Harbor, Door County
Architect: Sylvester J. Schmitt
Date of Construction: 1937-38/1995
The Baileys Harbor Town Hall and McArdle Library reflects both the growth of local government services and the proliferation of libraries in small towns in the early 20th century. The multi-use building is the largest public building in the community, housing town offices, the public library and a large auditorium space used for entertainment, athletics, family functions, and various summer activities. Living quarters were also provided in the upper story for the building's caretaker.
Despite the lingering economic depression, local initiatives successfully funded construction of the town hall and library. Michael W. McArdle, a successful Chicago industrialist, originally from Baileys Harbor, gave a large donation to the project. The remainder of funding came from the federal WPA work relief program.
Sylvester J. Schmitt, an architect from Two Rivers, Wisconsin, received the commission to design the structure. WPA funded architects commonly used the Colonial Revival design, due to its symbolic expression of nationalism, providing an image of security and stability during a tumultuous time. McArdle insisted on the locally quarried limestone exterior, but coincidentally reflected the WPA's emphasis on local labor-intensive construction materials. The building's colonial embellishments include a stepped parapet with stone coping and an octagonal tower with louvered openings, and a conical roof topped with a weathervane. Other accents include a denticulated cornice, flat arches with a central keystone and oculus windows. On each end of the façade, separate entrances demarcate the library and the town hall functions. A 1995 addition was made to expand library space, designed to blend with the original structure.
The town hall/library is still in operation and is open during regular hours.