1967 - 2006

HISTORY OF THE LIBRARY - Watertown Regional Library, 610 B Avenue NE, 1967 to 2006

In 1958, the Board received an estimate of $35,000 for an addition to the Carnegie building. A possible site for a new library in southeast Watertown was considered. The next year the Board approached the City Council regarding the use of the City Auditorium as a library. Remodeling the Carnegie library was not practical and the city auditorium would not be available, so the Board asked the City Council to authorize them to seek federal funds to build a new library. In order to qualify for federal funds, a regional bookmobile service for Hamlin and Codington Counties was started in 1966.

Controversy arose over the selection of a building site. The three sites in question were Flatiron Park (N. Broadway), Olive Place (N. Maple), and the northeast location between A and B Avenues, west of the high school. It was predicted that the city would grow toward the northeast, so the northeast site between A and B Avenue was chosen. Schull Construction Company was the contractor, and on July 1, 1968, the $345,267 regional library was dedicated by Circuit Court Judge R. F. Manson.

And that’s where the library was from July, 1967, to April, 2006. As the years passed, the demand for library services again outgrew the Watertown Regional Library on Sixth Avenue NE, and in 1997, events were set in motion to expand the library. (As I understand it, when Mike came here in 1991, the only talk of expansion was perhaps building a children’s wing. There were no definite discussions until 1997) Construction began on the expanded facility in 2006. During construction, the library was located at 15 First Avenue NW. The expanded library will open July 23.

Material extracted from the Watertown Regional Library Archives

Codington County Heritage Museum Archives

Watertown Public Opinion Archives

Written by Jacquelyn Baxter, Summer 2007