After 48 years at its location on 914 E. Channing Ave., the Fergus Falls Daily Journal will be moving back to downtown Fergus Falls Monday. The Journal will now move to 125 N. Union Ave. Suite 301, or what many citizens remember as the old Carnegie Library building.
“The historic Daily Journal will now be part of the old Carnegie Library history and the library will once again have books as we will house all our bound books containing the history of Fergus Falls and surrounding area going back to the late 1880s,” Daily Journal publisher Ken Harty said. “We are excited to be moving downtown and look forward to being part of the great history of the old Carnegie Library”.
When first established on July 24, 1873, the Journal was published at the home of publisher A.J. Underwood’s on the 200 block of East Lincoln Avenue. The newspaper would grow from a weekly, to semiweekly and then to a daily in 1883. The Journal would also merge with several other publications to form the Fergus Printing & Publishing Company, before later changing to the Fergus Journal Company.
The Journal would then move to South Mill Street, where it occupied two different structures until the move to the 11,300-square-foot building in 1972.
“When the Journal was located on Mill Street it used water from Wright’s Dam to power the printing press,” Otter Tail County Historical Society executive director Chris Schuelke said.
The Journal would transition owners during this time period before being purchased by current owner Wick Communications in 2019.
The Journal’s new location also has a storied history. The building was originally built in 1906 at the intersection of Union and Cavour avenues. Funding for the project came from Andrew Carnegie, the millionaire philanthropist who donated untold millions for the erection of libraries all across the United States and was designed by Vernon Wright, the first president of Otter Tail Power Company, who had a background in architecture.
After World War II, more room was needed and the library planned to build an expansion. In 1961, the expansion was completed on the front of the building, which is displayed on Union Avenue.
“The front addition was an effort to modernize the old library. At the time it was met with mixed reactions. Some like the new updated appearance while others were disturbed to see the handsome facade disappear. One comment was the transformed library now looked like a night club,” Schuelke said.
The Fergus Falls Public Library would move to its current location in 1986, leaving the building, after a new facility was constructed. Several businesses have occupied the location, including three current residents Nathan Seeger Law Office, Larson Insurance and one of the locations for the Fergus Falls School of Dance.
“I am also glad the Journal is using an existing building instead of building new. There are plenty of sites sitting empty, reuse and recycle should also be applied to buildings,” Schuelke added.