Sioux City, IA had two Carnegie Libraries, Central and Leeds. The interesting part of the Leeds location is it fit where other smaller rural towns were able to secure funds from the Carnegie Foundation. I went to go visit the current location, knowing that it no longer serves as a Library, but was still standing as apartments.

Here is a few pics I took, just to give an idea of what the building looks like today.


Leeds 1

Here’s a brief history of what was discovered about this library branch.


With a grant of $85,000 awarded on April 8, 1911 the second Carnegie Library was built in the Leeds neighborhood of Sioux City, Iowa. Today the building serves as an American Legion Hall.

The information here is interesting in that the grant awarded seems to be a bit high when placing it against the building standing in Leeds. It may need more research to challenge the size and amount listed. The Central Library in down town Library is about 5 times larger and with more expensive materials used in the brick, and the amount they were able to secure was about $75,000. The amount could be more around the $8,000 mark possibly? The Leeds location is one of 45 remaining Carnegie structures still standing that is NOT used as a library today in Iowa.

At any rate, it was sad to see the current state of this historic site. It’s a miracle it’s still standing as a building, but the history of the place warrants more understanding. Before it was sold as apartments it was working as an American Legion Hall. Here are some closer pics of the building before it was sold, using pics from the blog “History Culture By Bicycle”


You can compare the first (older picture) where the Library was in its original state, comparing where the windows would be at the bottom, and where some of the original molding around the windows are still there, and the roof lines are still prominent before the new gutters were put on the apartment building.

This leads to the second library secured from the Carnegie Foundations in down town Sioux City (Sioux City Main) which (although apartment buildings has been listed on the historical landmarks registry).

The history of the Carnegie libraries in Iowa is fascinating, and I encourage you to visit one if you have one nearby.


Happy Reading!


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