100 Years / 100 Stories

100 Years/100 Stories is an expanding collection of stories from our community, as told through written word, photography, audio, and video. They are all unique, and yet they share a similar thread of living and learning in Saint Paul. We are proud to have been a gathering place for Saint Paul residents for 100 years and look forward to serving the city for 100 more.

Leonard Larson's Story

The boy in this old photograph is Leonard Larson. We see him with his father and his sister, Florence……

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Leonard Larson's Story

Author: Beth Burns (President of the The Friends of the Saint Paul Public Library)

The boy in this old photograph is Leonard Larson. We see him with his father and his sister, Florence…

“taking it easy” in the side yard of his family’s home at 1288 Edgerton St.

In-between is a deep trench where the city is bringing Hyacinth Ave. through to interact with Edgerton.

Leonard was born in St. Paul in 1905 and is twelve or thirteen years old when this picture was taken. He has two sisters and four brothers. He is a student at Phalen Park School and will later graduate from Johnson High School.

The father is Otto Larson. He was born in Sweden and came to the USA when he was twenty-eight years old. He learned English, became a citizen and built a house for his family on this property.

Is Leonard reading a book that he has borrowed from the new Arlington Hills Public Library in his neighborhood? We can’t know for certain, but it is possible!!

Leonard was a public library patron wherever he called home. He lived to be 83 years old and was a constant reader.

A very proud new @stpaullibrary card holder today. Did I mention he is 4? Couldn't wait to come home to show his dad.

“"I am so grateful, and so moved, because libraries and books and learning have meant so much to me all of my life."”

— Anonymous Patron, George Latimer Central Library, 2014

Saint Paul Public Library: 100 Years/100 Stories

We’ve come a long way. One-hundred years ago, Saint Paul Public Library (SPPL) expanded from a single building to a network of neighborhood libraries, improving access to books and resources for Saint Paul residents.

Share Your Own Story!

SPPL has developed a set of fun, easy-to-use tools that allow you to share YOUR story. Explore our tools below.

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