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The Des Moines architectural firm of Wetherell and Gage in 1909–1910 provided the community of Laurens with a new Carnegie Public Library. For the design, the architects turned not to the Beaux-Arts Classical but to the informal and homelike Craftsman mode. The resulting stucco building seems to pose as a dwelling, enlarged and made a bit more formal. The entrance wing with its central gable has a suggestion of half-timbering above the door; to each side there is a slight hint of wide pilasters, their capitals composed of a popular motif of the time, four inlaid tiles forming a square. The roof of the building has the feeling of a saltbox, with the rear pitch being longer and more gentle. There are diamond-paned windows within the front bays, and to the side, a Palladian window appears nearly medieval because of its slightly pointed arch. A fireplace originally dominated the interior space of the main floor. The library is located at 263 North Third Street.

Writing Credits

David Gebhard and Gerald Mansheim

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