Wisconsin Historical Society

National or State Registers Record

120 E. Madison St.

National or State Register of Historic Places
120 E. Madison St. | National or State Registers Record | Wisconsin Historical Society
Historic Name:Fargo, L. D., Public Library
Reference Number:82000675
Location (Address):120 E. Madison St.
City/Village:Lake Mills
Lorenzo Dow Fargo Free Public Library
120 East Madison Street, Lake Mills, Jefferson County
Architect: Ferry & Clas
Date of Construction: 1902

The Lorenzo Dow Fargo Free Public Library was designed by Milwaukee firm Ferry & Clas using English medieval motifs that were becoming popular with the emergence of Period Revival styles. Its exterior stone was gathered from the nearby fields of L.D. Fargo, a prominent Lake Mills businessman who gifted the library to the village. Volunteer labor helped to dig and transport the stone to the site.

Steeply pitched gable dormers jut through the roof and carry the stone wall material up into the roofline, dominating the building. A central entrance boldly projects from the face of the building. Its canopy is the most elaborate element of the exterior with tracery-like bargeboards supported by large brackets. The delicate cutwork of these bargeboards is mirrored above at each gable. The corner walls slope with buttress-like supports adding to the building¿s medieval flavor. The rectangular leaded-glass windows light the interior. An oriel window on the west façade is balanced on the east façade by a shallow bay that houses the fireplace beneath the chimney.

The library is the centerpiece of Lake Mills cultural life. L.D. Fargo and the village council wanted the library to be free with no distinction of society, nationality or color. Fargo wanted space for reading rooms, a museum, and rooms for other literary and scientific purposes. The Women¿s Club, who maintained the previous library and donated books for the library collection, was also given space in the library.

The library is still in operation and is open during regular hours.

Period of Significance:1875-18991900-1924
Area of Significance:Architecture
Area of Significance:Social History
Applicable Criteria:Event
Applicable Criteria:Architecture/Engineering
Historic Use:Education: Library
Historic Use:Social: Civic
Architectural Style:Late Gothic Revival
Resource Type:Building
Architect:Ferry & Clas
Historic Status:Listed in the National Register
Historic Status:Listed in the State Register
National Register Listing Date:01/18/1982
State Register Listing Date:01/01/1989
Number of Contributing Buildings:1
Number of Contributing Sites:0
Number of Contributing Structures:0
Number of Contributing Objects:0
Number of Non-Contributing Sites:0
Number of Non-Contributing Structures:0
Number of Non-Contributing Objects:0
National Register and State Register of Historic Places, Division of Historic Preservation, Wisconsin Historical Society, Madison, Wisconsin

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