Wisconsin Historical Society

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Architecture and History Inventory
204 S MAPLE | Property Record | Wisconsin Historical Society
Historic Name:Marshfield Public Library
Other Name:Tower Hall
Contributing: Yes
Reference Number:28212
Location (Address):204 S MAPLE
Unincorporated Community:
Quarter Section:
Quarter/Quarter Section:
Year Built:1900
Survey Date:1999
Historic Use:library
Architectural Style:Neoclassical
Structural System:
Wall Material:Brick
Architect:Van Ryn and DeGelleke
Other Buildings On Site:0
Demolished Date:
National/State Register Listing Name: Marshfield Central Avenue Historic District
National Register Listing Date:11/4/1993 12:00:00 AM
State Register Listing Date:7/9/1993 12:00:00 AM
National Register Multiple Property Name:
Additional Information:This single story Neo Classical brick library is located in the middle of the 20 block on the west side of South Maple Avenue. The three by three bay structure sits on a raised rubble stone foundation. Since its remodeling in the early 1960s, the foundation has been further exposed and pierced to accommodate a new entry. The three bays of the main (east) facade each has a large nine light fixed sash window. The middle window within the pedimented pavillion originally enframed the library's main entry. The hip asphalt shingled roof is trimmed by a wide denticulated cornice and is visually supported by corner pilasters. The use of polychromatic bands emphasizes the horizontality of the mass of the building. Although physically linked to the old Marshfield City Hall, there is no interior connection, and the Library had its own entrance. This property is a contributing member of the Marshfield Central Avenue Historic District under Criterion C of the National Register of Historic Places. It is representative of the Architecture Theme of the Wisconsin Cultural Resource Management Plan as an example of Neo Classical architecture. The building's architectural integrity has been compromised by the recent alterations to the main entrance, but overall the building retains its original character. Marshfield's first public library was founded in 1880 with 500 books donated by John J. Marsh, early Marshfield landowner. Marsh has stipulated that his friend W.H. Upham lead a committee of three trustees to manage the library. However, Upham, L.A. Arnold, and E.S. Renne relinquished responsibility for the book collection to Upham's wife and a group of local women. The group appears to have been the local unit of the Women's Christian Temperance Union. In 1882 the library was located on the second floor of the store operated by C.M. Upham and Brother [no longer extant, site of 200 South Central Avenue, WO 10/34]. By April 30, 1886, the library was moved to the drugstore of W.Y. Budge [location unknown], whose daughter Lottie was "acting Librarian". Later in the same year, the library relocated to the Band of Hope Hall, which was on the north side of West Third Street [no longer extant, site not surveyed] across from the Upham's home [212 West Third Street, not surveyed]. The book collection survived the fire of June 1887, library was run out of the Upham home. Later it was moved again to the jewelry store [no longer extant, site of 252 South Central Avenue, WO 10/27] of Benjamin Elvis, whose wife was treasurer of the Marshfield WCTU in 1898. In 1899 the library was relocated to Mrs. I/P. Tiffault's Book Store and Bazaar [north half of 231 South Central Avenue, WO 10/37, amount of original building remaining is unknown], and received a grant from the city Common Council of $100. At that time it became a publicly supported free library. When the Common Council was discussing construction of a new city hall, earlier lobbying by the WCTU provided profitable, as a space for a new and permanent library space was included in the plans and specifications for the new City Hall. The new City Hall was opened in May of 1901, and the Library was opened October 21, 1901 [204 South Maple Avenue, WO 12/7]. The library facilities were moved from South Maple Street to East Second Street in 1960, after the construction of a new library builidng. The Marshfield Free Library remains in the same location, and was not within the 1990-91 survey area. This property is a contributing member of the Marshfield Central Avenue Historic District under Criterion A of the National Register of Historic Places. It is representative of the Education Theme of the Wisconsin Cultural Resource Management Plan as an example of a small public library. C.F. Dallman was the builder.
Bibliographic References:Date of construction, designer: City Council proceedings A. Sanborn Insurance Maps: Marshfield, Wisconsin 1884, 1887, 1891, 1898, 1904, 1912, 1925, 1946. B. Marshfield City Directories. C. Marshfield News-Herald, 8 June, 1972.
Wisconsin Architecture and History Inventory, Division of Historic Preservation, Wisconsin Historical Society, Madison, Wisconsin

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