You are here

Watts Free Public Library

-A A +A
1911–1913. 101 3rd St. N
  • (Photograph by Steve C. Martens)

Leonard may be the smallest community in North Dakota to have been endowed with a library. The Watts Free Public Library was dedicated by Edgerton Watts in memory of his wife, Mary Hewitt Watts. A New Englander by birth, Watts had few personal assets other than income derived from his role as local postmaster. This tiny building makes vestigial reference to Stick Style in its use of a decorative truss in the entrance gable that is trimmed with scalloped gingerbread trim around the eaves. The hipped roof is sheathed in scalloped metal shingles, now painted silver, and deep soffits are edged with scalloped wood trim painted white. Rock-faced concrete blocks are treated as quoins around the entrance and at the facade’s corners. The entrance is emphasized with a slightly projecting vestibule, and blocks in the gable are incised to read, “LIBRARY, 1911.” The library retains its original paneled entrance door with beveled oval glass and a transom. Broad windows with diamond-pane leaded-glass transoms provide generous natural light to the reading room. Interior furnishings include an exceptional oil lamp suspended from a coved ceiling that is finished with decorative pressed metal. The library closed in 1968 and consideration was given to moving it or using it for restrooms for the surrounding park. In 1971, a group of interested citizens received permission to reopen the library.

Writing Credits

Steve C. Martens and Ronald H. L. M. Ramsay



Steve C. Martens and Ronald H. L. M. Ramsay, "Watts Free Public Library", [Leonard, North Dakota], SAH Archipedia, eds. Gabrielle Esperdy and Karen Kingsley, Charlottesville: UVaP, 2012—,

Print Source

Cover: Buildings of North Dakota

Buildings of North Dakota, Steve C. Martens and Ronald H. L. M. Ramsay. Charlottesville: University of Virginia Press, 2015, 54-54.

If SAH Archipedia has been useful to you, please consider supporting it.

SAH Archipedia tells the story of the United States through its buildings, landscapes, and cities. This freely available resource empowers the public with authoritative knowledge that deepens their understanding and appreciation of the built environment. But the Society of Architectural Historians, which created SAH Archipedia with University of Virginia Press, needs your support to maintain the high-caliber research, writing, photography, cartography, editing, design, and programming that make SAH Archipedia a trusted online resource available to all who value the history of place, heritage tourism, and learning.