100 years ago today

May 6, 2010

Yes, exactly 100 year ago today the Daily Jefferson County Union ran a story that is amazingly fitting for today, May 6, 2010.

Melissa Wagner of the Daily Jefferson County Union found it while researching archives for the newspaper’s “Memory Lane” feature.  She kindly shared it with me.  It ran in the Daily Union newspaper on May 6, 1910.   I think it’s so heartening that the citizens were in search of a first-class building, well located.  I had to smile when I read that donors had until the next day to commit their support.  It appears they were overly ambitious in their capital campaign deadline and had to extend it a bit.  The library’s history book indicates they had to work fairly hard (for longer than one day) to raise funds to help augment the eventual gift from Henry Southwell.  It actually took six more years to get the library built (in the building that we know today) at the corner of East Milwaukee and Merchants Avenues.  One hundred years later, we want the very same thing for Fort Atkinson.  That’s what we’ve worked so hard to ensure.  May our descendants, 100 years from now, still have a first-class library building, well located.

Here is the exact text:

An unexpected opportunity to secure a valuable location for a Public Library for the City of Fort Atkinson, together with a building which will meet the needs of the Library for some years to come was presented to the Library Board. A Committee was appointed to interview the people of Fort Atkinson and ascertain if a sufficient amount could be raised to purchase the property. The Committee met with favorable responded when soliciting for funds; the contributions already promised insure the success of the undertaking, and that Fort Atkinson is to have, some day, a first-class Library Building, well located. There still remains a few hundred dollars to be secured, and in order that all who have a desire to aid in this work may have the opportunity to give as much or as little as it may be their pleasure to donate for this laudable and public spirited undertaking this announcement is made and those who wish to assist are requested to inform any member of the Library Board or the Librarian not later than Saturday, May 7th, if possible.  Members of the Library Board are: Mrs. C.A. Caswell, A.J. Glover, Rev. A.F. Nicolaus, Prof. J.A. Hagemann, Mrs. J.F. Schreiner, Mrs.D.A. Bullock, A.C. Price, Mrs. C.W. Ferris, J.N. Hager and A.M. Webb. The Librarian is Sue Nichols.


  1. Terrific article, from our amazing City of Fort Atkinson. Thanks for sharing, Melissa, and in turn, Connie! We DO have a beautiful library, and helpful, caring librarians, and I am very thankful for all that you do to keep it up! I had a co-worker, from Madison, who traveled to Fort to use our library, and she was so impressed, and this was years ago. I’ll never forget how much she raved about our Library. It IS a first-class library, well located. Here’s to the second century!!

  2. Aw, thank you Margaret! I will be sure to share your comment with Melissa and the library staff. I believe today they will be cutting in the new doorway in the old library. Talk about a symbolic step into the next century!

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