Library Stop: Prairie Creek, Dwight, Illinois

We recently took a drive (as we often do) down what’s left of Route 66 in north-central Illinois. We stopped to picnic in Dwight, IL and discovered they have one beautiful library.

Prairie Creek Library
501 Carriage House Lane
Dwight, IL

Built: 1896
Size: 50 x 80 feet
Original use: cattle & horse stable
Placed on the National Register of Historic Places: 1980
Opened as a library: 1990
Current collection: 28,860 volumes
Annual circulation: 86,197
Serves: 6,634 residents


Built in 1896 as a carriage house for prize cattle and horses of the Oughton Estate. The family donated the building to the library district in 1989. For more history, visit the library website here.  According to a town pamphlet, the building was first re-purposed as a treatment and recreation building for the Keeley Institute which was a “commercial medical operation that offered treatment to alcoholics from 1879 to 1965.” Read more about the Keeley Institute and Cure here.
The half circle moldings above each window are a unique touch. I’d love to know what the original windows looked like.
The big barn door for cattle, horses, and carriages has been bricked-up and replaced by what looks like an emergency exit for book-loving humans.


Window detail.
Emergency exit leading from the children’s section on the second floor. The balcony was obviously a later addition to the building. I imagine this side of the building may have mirrored its opposite side.
Back shot of the library.
This huge, 5-story windmill is behind the library. In the first picture of this post, you can see its blades towering above the library. The windmill was installed in 1896 to supply water for the estate.


A peek through a back window because of course, we happened upon this beautiful library on a Sunday when it was closed.


Notice the dog? She greets all visitors.


“A Fine Feathered Friend” by artist Patti Aldrich
Feather details.

~The End ~

One comment

What do you think? Leave a comment and let's talk!

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.