MERRILL - In 1891, Merrill opened the T.B. Scott Free Library.
It was one of the first 25 public libraries in the state, but looked nothing like it does today. Instead, it was just a small space inside City Hall.
Then, wealthy steel industrialist Andrew Carnegie's money came to Merrill.
One hundred years ago this week, Carnegie died a wealthy man. But he had also given a lot of his wealth away, much of it to build public libraries like the one in Merrill.
A pledge of $17,500 helped Merrill become one of 63 Carnegie libraries in Wisconsin and more than 1,600 across the country.
The original building, finished in 1911, is still used and still loved. Original shelving now holds magazines, audiobooks, and large print materials. The library has since expanded around it.
"The residents here in Merrill all have memories of this Carnegie building, whether it be from when they were kids, or when they brought their kids here, or when they spent time here," said Stacy Stevens, the director of the T.B. Scott Free Library.
One hundred years after his death, Carnegie's wealth remains on display as a gift to Merrill.
"This truly is an icon in this community, this Carnegie building," said Bea Lebal, the former library director.
The original library is designed in the Prairie School architectural style. Only three percent of the Carnegie libraries in the United States share that style.
Story By: Ben Meyer