The Superior Public Library is located in the heart of historic downtown Superior, Wisconsin. Founded in 1888 as the municipal library of the city of Superior, the library moved to its present location at 1530 Tower Avenue in 1992. Also serving the citizens of Douglas County, the library has two branch libraries located in the towns of Lake Nebagamon and Solon Springs.
The Superior Public Library’s murals, which are displayed in the library and appear on the website, were commissioned in 1992 by former library director Dr. Paul H. Gaboriault. From its inception, the thirty-five panel project was intended to tell the history of Superior and Douglas County beginning with the Algonquian-Ojibwe story of the creation of the earth and continuing through the 20th century. Private donations were solicited for the first paintings and further funding was obtained through the Wisconsin Arts Board, the Duluth-Superior Community Foundation and the Friends of the Superior Public Library. The murals were completed in 2002.
Regional artist, Carl Gawboy, was chosen for the project. Mr. Gawboy, son of a Finnish mother and Ojibwe father, was born in Cloquet, Minnesota and grew up in the Ely area. He was educated at the University of Minnesota-Duluth and the University of Wisconsin-Superior and obtained a master’s degree in American Indian art from the University of Montana. For many years he taught art and American Indian studies at local schools, including six years at UMD and fifteen at the College of St. Scholastica. Mr. Gawboy is now retired, but still devotes much of his time to painting.