As the needs of libraries and their constituents change so too do their physical buildings. Uptown’s current Walker Library is its third! Here, library patrons pose for a photo in the first Walker Library’s reading room. This building — still standing across the street from the current Walker Library — was built in 1911. Uptown at the time was just entering two decades of rapid growth. The Lake & Hennepin intersection was starting to take off as the center of a major new commercial district, due partly to new streetcar lines and extensive housing construction in the surrounding neighborhoods. West High School opened at 29th & Hennepin in 1908; many of the readers in this photograph are likely West students. In 1981, this library — by then too small to accommodate the neighborhood’s large population — was replaced by a new building across the street. The 1980s library has since been demolished and replaced on the same site with a new library (2014), and the original 1911 library shown here has been turned into a lounge and events center.
Photograph from Hennepin History Museum’s collection. Learn more about the museum and its offerings at hennepinhistory.org or 870-1329.