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Lueken was strong supporter of Carnegie Library

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opinion Bemidji, 56619
Bemidji Pioneer
(218) 333-9819 customer support
Bemidji Minnesota P.O. Box 455 56619

This past weekend, the Friends of the Carnegie Library had a booth at Art in the Park. We raised almost $1,600 for our project to restore the Carnegie Library building. This is gratifying as we push toward our goal of $1.6 million.

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The lasting feeling after the weekend of unusual heat and humidity is our gratitude for the overwhelming support of the community. At Art in the Park hundreds of people gave us donations, bought raffle tickets or garden ornaments. Many spoke of memories of the building, their sadness at how many of our historic buildings have been torn down. Some talked about the importance of living with our history and their wish to preserve what we still have of our history. Many encouraged us, thanked us for our work, wished for our success.

A landmark building in our historic downtown on the National Register of Historic Places, the Carnegie Library building is one of Bemidji's oldest buildings. Built for education and available to the entire community, it dates from the earliest period after the city's incorporation. Restored, the building will be available for future generations to touch their history, and better understand the ideals of our city fathers.

As I write this I am shocked and grieved by the passing of Joe Lueken. Joe was one of our strongest supporters and a truly remarkable person. This community will miss him dearly. He gave us one of our largest and earliest gifts and constantly encouraged our work. I have been carrying his words with me throughout our campaign, from those early days when he said "we need to afford our history". Thanks, Joe.

And thanks to all of you who are encouraging and supporting this project. We have a fund set up at the Northwest Minnesota Foundation for tax-free contributions to help us save the Carnegie. Please visit our website at www.savethecarnegie.org for more information or to make a donation.

Lew Crenshaw

Friends of the Carnegie Library

Bemidji

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