Save the Carnegie Library in Bemidji Minnesota

Help us preserve this treasured landmark, and restore its role as a vibrant centerpiece fo our community

Please volunteer your time and talents

Please make a tax-deductible contribution to our capital fund

Moving the Building

Moving the Carnegie Library Is
the Right Thing to Do

  • The building is just too close to the highway
    • The last step down from the front door is barely four feet from moving traffic. This is a constant safety and liability concern.
    • The steps are too close to the road to install an ADA compliant handrail. There is not enough sidewalk area remaining.
    • Snowplow throw is destroying the stone fa├žade and occasionally breaks windows.
    • The signal lights hanging over the building are ugly and greatly detract from the building's presence.
    • The ambiance inside the building is significantly degraded by road noise, close passing traffic, vibration and talking crosswalk signals which can be heard even inside the building.
  • We tried to find alternatives to moving the building
    • MNDot and the City administration looked at options to change the road configuration, but rejected them for cost and congestion reasons.
    • Changes to the front of the building to make the entrance safer would result in the building being dropped off the National Register of Historic Places.
    • Barrier designs were rejected by the City Council because of interference with the sidewalk. None of the barrier options really provided an adequate resolution to the issues.
  • Our plan is to move the building 17 feet back into the park, toward the lake, and onto a new foundation
    • This can be accomplished while keeping the building registered as a historic place.
    • It will restore the historic position of the building with respect to the road including the front yard seen in historic photographs.
    • A new foundation will have proper drainage and help with the cost effectiveness of installing new plumbing and electrical service.
  • We've had questions about whether it's possible to move a building like this. The answer is definitely "Yes!". There are many construction firms who do this sort of project. Take a look at this fascinating time-lapse video of the moving of the historic Shubert Theatre in Minneapolis. It's a massive multi-story brick building, and they picked it up and moved it several blocks over the course of a couple of weeks. Our Carnegie will be much easier!
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