From the Library Park Historic District web site (visit link
"Shortly after the first settlers arrived in Kenosha in 1835, the land around Library Park was acquired by Charles Durkee, a New Englander, and George Kimball, a Canadian. Both donated a portion of their land for a New England type commons, which was first known as “City Park” or, simply, “The Commons.” Charles Durkee served as a U.S. Senator from Wisconsin from 1855 to 1861. His large home, now part of Kemper Center, is located in the Third Avenue Historic District.
Most of the early homes built around the park were small- to modest- sized structures. The Lucien Scribner House at 6003 – Seventh Avenue (1843) and the Volney French House at 6044 – Eighth Avenue (1846) are examples of this early construction. Settlement around the park continued during the 1850s, until by 1861, available lots were almost entirely occupied. Houses constructed during this period range from the modest home at 530 – 61st Street (1855) to the elaborate Italianate Edward Bain House at 6107 – Seventh Avenue (1860). Many of the earliest homes built around the park were lost during several periods of redevelopment the area experienced through the years.
During this period before the Civil War, the neighborhood around the park was involved in the “Underground Railroad,” a network of people who assisted slaves escape from bondage in the south to freedom in Canada. Reuben H. Deming was one of the most active Kenoshans in the anti-slavery movement. His house was located near where the Louis Thiers House at 6027 – Seventh Avenue is now located. The original house on the site of the Hale-Farr House, 6028 – Eighth Avenue, was also a place for hiding slaves awaiting transportation north aboard ships departing the Kenosha harbor. Today a plaque marks the site of the former Deming house as a stop on the Underground Railroad.
In the 1870s, two important religious buildings were constructed: the Gothic Revival stone St. Matthew’s Episcopal Church, 5900 – Seventh Avenue (1872-79), and the cream brick Gothic Revival First Congregational Church, 5934 – Eighth Avenue (1874).
In 1888, the first representative structure of the Queen Anne era, the Frederick Gottfredsen House at 711 – 61st Street, was built in the district. Around 1890, Nathan R. Allen, Jr. built an impressive Queen Anne house at 5918 – Eighth Avenue. At the same time, prominent surgeon William M. Farr rebuilt his house in an interpretation of the German Renaissance Revival style peculiar to Wisconsin’s German population. The Urban J. Lewis House, 6019 – Seventh Avenue (1892) and the Louis Thiers House, 6027 – Seventh Avenue (1893) complete nineteenth century construction in the district.
The new century brought with it changes for the neighborhood. Proximity to the downtown commercial area forced an increase in density in the neighborhood. Residences built during this period were much smaller than their predecessors built in the late nineteenth century, and many lacked a specific architectural style. Examples of this infill construction range in appearance from the vernacular Charles Stuart House, 6201 – Eighth Avenue (1907) to the two well-maintained American Foursquare houses at 6118-20 – Seventh Avenue
(1907) and 6122-24 – Seventh Avenue (1913).
Some stylistic houses were built during this era, but they did not match the size and exuberance of nineteenth century construction. Typical of these are the craftsman C. Ernest Dewey House, 519 – 61st Street (1910) and the small Georgian Revival William T. Flatley House, 521 – 61st Street (1930).
The early twentieth century also brought changes to the district in the form of construction of large public buildings. The first to appear was the Gilbert M. Simmons Memorial Library, 711 – 59th Place (1900). With the new library came a new name for City Park: Library Park. The landscaping of Library Park is based on an 1899 landscape plan designed by Ossian Cole Simonds, a nationally prominent landscape architect. Simonds’ plan can still be detected in the park today. Most of the curving walks are in their original configuration as well as combinations of open space, trees, and shrubs. The Neo-Classical Revival design of the library was repeated in the Masonic Temple, 807 – 61st Street (1924) and the Jewish Community Center, 6050 – Eighth Avenue (1927-28). The Neo-Classical style was also used less elaborately in the two apartment buildings located in the district, the Terrace Court Apartments, 6207 – Seventh Avenue (1928) and The Allis, 6004 – Eighth Avenue (1915). The YMCA, 720 – 59th Place (1930) completed the construction of public buildings in the district.
Since World War II, the district has seen relatively little new construction or alterations. The Library Park Historic District has been placed on the National Register of Historic Places."