L. D. Fargo Public Library

Also known as: Lorenzo Dow Fargo Free Public Library
120 E. Madison St., Lake Mills, Wisconsin

Fieldstone structure serving the community as a library since 1902



Photo taken by J.R. Manning in June 2015




According to A History of Agriculture in Wisconsin (Volume 2) by Joseph Schafer, in an affidavit written by Mrs. Carrie Fargo Bicknell, Lorenzo Dow Fargo moved to Lake Mills from his home in Connecticut to buy a farm. Toward the end of his life, he began to reforest much of his land, stressing the importance of trees to future generations. His generous gift of $5,000.00 in 1899 planted the seeds for a library in Lake Mills. (Mrs. Carrie Fargo Bicknell was a daughter of L.D. Fargo.)

The building was designed by George Ferry, a noted architect in Wisconsin and a prolific designer of libraries around the state. It was dedicated in August 1902.

A fire in January, 1980 caused a great deal of damage to the structure, the children's collection and the records collection. Great effort was made to clean up and the library reopened, on a limited basis, in April 1980. In April 1981, the library reopened.

A History of Agriculture in Wisconsin (Volume 2) by Joseph Schafer was published by the State Historical Society of Wisconsin in 1922.

National Register information 

Posted to the National Register of Historic Places on January 18, 1982
Reference number
NR name
Fargo, L. D., Public Library
Architectural style
Late 19th and 20th Century Revival: Late Gothic Revival
Areas of significance
Architecture; Social History
Level of significance
Evaluation criteria
A - Event; C - Design/Construction
Property type
Historic functions
Civic; Library
Current functions
Library; Civic
Periods of significance
1900-1924; 1875-1899
Significant years
1899; 1902

Update Log 

  • June 14, 2015: Updated by J.R. Manning: Updated Status, Added Description and Added Photos