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LETTER: When Carnegie met Mitchell

To the Editor:

It would seem strange with the Carnegie namesake on our library, now the resource center, and that our town is named after Alexander Mitchell, that these two should meet in history. In 1900, steel magnate Andrew Carnegie wanted to see America. He went to Alexander Mitchell, president of the Milwaukee railroad, to hire his own train. Carnegie then toured portions of America at the cost of $6,000.

When the Carnegie Foundation came to Mitchell in 1902 to commission building a library, there were four requirements: 1) Demonstrate the need for a library; 2) Donate the land; 3) Guarantee free access -- no fees for services; and 4) The city would put 10 percent of the building costs into the budget annually. The Mitchell Library was completed by 1903 at the cost of $12,000.

The old Carnegie is now the Carnegie Resource Center, home to the Mitchell Area Historical and Mitchell Area Genealogical societies.

On Sept. 16, we will celebrate the 25th anniversary of the Mitchell Area Historical Society and the 110th anniversary of the Carnegie (library) building. You are cordially invited for an afternoon of festivities with ribbon cutting and special postal cancellation. This will be followed by an evening dinner from friends and members, and a speaker, retired pastor Boyd Blumer.

We are very thankful for the support the Mitchell community has shown the resource center throughout the seven years we have occupied the Carnegie. Much restoration and renovation has been done to this fine example of quartzite architecture.