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Former Library in Aledo Wins Historic Preservation Award

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Landmarks Illinois
The interior of the former library in Aledo, IL

A historic preservation group is honoring those who turned the former Mercer County Library into a place where people can learn about technology and find a job. Next month, Landmarks Illinois will give the 100-year-old building a Richard Driehaus Foundation Preservation Award for Adaptive Reuse.

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President and CEO, Bonnie McDonald, says the library was built in 1915 with a donation from industrialist, Andrew Carnegie. The goals was to give everyone access to information and education no matter their status. She says now, the building is used to continue that tradition.

After the library closed two years ago, former Aledo residents Crista and William Albertson bought it and started renovations during the pandemic. Last spring, an organization called, High-Tech Small Town opened in the former library. The new agency is working with schools in the region to help create a pipeline of tech industry talent.

McDonald says the Aledo project is one of several that Landmarks Illinois is honoring this year for adaptive reuse.

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Exterior of the former Mercer County Carnegie Library in Aledo, IL

The Mercer County Carnegie Library building is located in the National Register-listed Downtown Aledo Historic District. The designation allowed the Albertsons to take advantage of Federal Historic Preservation Tax Credits to help pay for the renovations.

At next month's ceremony, Landmarks Illinois will also give awards for restoration, such as:

  • Chicago's Union Station
  • Four homes in Nauvoo
  • Duncan Manor, a farmhouse on Route 66. It was formerly on Landmarks' list of most endangered historic buildings in Illinois.
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