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Senior Center Building (Janesville Public Library)

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1902, J. T. W. Jennings. 69 S. Main St.

At the southeastern edge of Courthouse Park sits the Janesville Public Library, which Jennings designed in the Beaux-Arts classical style, newly popular for civic buildings. At the first story, the building’s gray brick walls are rusticated with deeply recessed joints that emphasize horizontality. A central portico rises above the arched entrances, its Ionic columns supporting a pediment. Garlands ornament the broad frieze and the pediment’s tympanum, which also bears the building’s name and date of construction. At the second story, panels underscoring sets of four windows proclaim with raised lettering: “Free to the People” and “Eldred Memorial.” The latter refers to locally prominent merchant and manufacturer F. S. Eldred, who honored the memory of his daughter Ada Eldred Sayre by donating $10,000 to the library to match Andrew Carnegie’s grant. In 1932, the building’s second-story assembly hall was transformed into an auditorium for the Janesville Little Theater. Since 1968, the building has housed Janesville’s Senior Center; in 2000 a large rear addition was built, and the interior was rehabilitated for continued use as an activity center for seniors.

Writing Credits

Marsha Weisiger et al.


What's Nearby


Marsha Weisiger et al., "Senior Center Building (Janesville Public Library)", [Janesville, Wisconsin], SAH Archipedia, eds. Gabrielle Esperdy and Karen Kingsley, Charlottesville: UVaP, 2012—,

Print Source

Buildings of Wisconsin

Buildings of Wisconsin, Marsha Weisiger and contributors. Charlottesville: University of Virginia Press, 2017, 416-416.

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