Lovers of Bookclubs, libraries, small towns and history

Discussion in 'Chit Chat' started by rockgor, Nov 18, 2007.

  1. rockgor

    rockgor Well-Known Member

    As I may have mentioned once or twice (ok, 67 times) I grew up in Harmony, a village tucked away in the rolling hills of SE Minnesota. My brother now lives in a nearby village named LeRoy which also has a population of 1000.

    When my brother called me over 20 years ago to say he and his family were moving to LeRoy, I said, "Quick, how do you say 'the King' in French." He immediately responded, "I dunno."

    Well, I guess if you're a deputy sheriff, you don't need to know French.

    I was amazed to see this tiny town named LeRoy has a website.

    Here is some info I found regarding the library. Altho this happened during the last century, it would probably seem pretty quaint and/or foreign to most of our urban population today.

    In 1901 thirteen ladies of the community started a book club. Each agreed to buy 2 books during the year. Books would be passed along every two weeks.

    Eight years later the club owned roughly 200 books. These were moved into a corner of an existing building and the ladies acted as unpaid librarians.

    During WWI a generous citizen donated land, the village raised $5,000 and the library building was erected. The balance of $1000 was paid off by the energetic ladies who gave teas to raise funds.

    In 1924 Clara Silsbee, the first librarian, was hired. She was the librarian for 43 years. The next one stayed almost as long. During the past 83 years, the library has had only 3 librarians.

    The library burned in the l960s, but was promptly rebuilt. My sister-in-law, a teacher, is on the library board. The little kids were thrilled when she arranged a visit from Clifford the Big Red Dog.

    Altho the library has no official motto, I have suggested one based on a quip of Groucho's on "You Bet Your Life".

    "We Do a Volume Business!"


  2. mollystwin

    mollystwin New Member

    I have always been enchanted with small towns, but never actually lived in one. We used to visit my grandmother in Fulton Run PA when I was very small and I loved it so much!! I was raised in and still live in the burbs where we have huge libraries without such quaint histories.

  3. kellyann

    kellyann New Member

    That is so neat! I love books, I just about have a library of my own in my house, since I have so many books. I hate dust jacket though. My husband thinks I'm crazy because I prefer my books without the jackets. He says they won't be worth anything if I take the jackets off. I say they are my books so if I want the jackets off, so be it! I think my books look so much better on the shelfs witout the goofy jackets. And the jackets just get in my way , falling off and such when I'm reading. I just hate dust jackets on my books! And when you buy like old library books and such, they have library numbers, stickers, and they are quite dirty sometimes. You take off the jacket and you have a pretty, nice book to put on your shelf. A lot of them even have fancy writing on the spine and front covers. So much nicer than looking at the ugly old jackets, haha! Sometimes I will buy like a big box of old library books off of ebay. I can get them pretty cheap, postage being the most expensive cost, but not too bad at media rate. I used to go to the library book sales, but haven't in several years due to my health. I read in the paper that there is a book sale in the next town over, I'd love to go poke around in it! Maybe, I will. But I doubt it. Easier for me to shop ebay. Pitiful, I know.

    Thanks for sharing your story of this small town library. It goes to show people need libraries,and love books, even in tiny little towns!

    Happy Reading!
  4. boltchik

    boltchik New Member

    Thanks for sharing this enchanting little piece of small town history. Three librarians in 83 yrs., Wow! Ahhhh, the simple life, it sounds very nice! Kim :)
  5. rockgor

    rockgor Well-Known Member

    I don't really know much about the history of the library in my village. I do remember when I was a kid the library was only open 5 hours a week: 3 on Sat. afternoon and 2 on Wed. evening. Reallly abreviated hours, huh Terch?

    Minnie Trouten was the librarian the entire time I lived there. I don't know if she even got paid.

    The library was smaller than most people's living room, and was located in the all-purpose city building which also had the garage for the town's one fire truck; a jail cell (the size of a bathroom and never used as far as I know); and a room used for meeting of the boy scouts, city council, etc.

    You're right, Overwhelm. It was a very small town. But we had twice the population of Canton which was five miles away.

    When I was a teenager some girl ran away from our village. She was "found" a few days later working as a waitress in the only restaurant in Canton. Since the restaurant was also the "depot" for the Greyhound Bus Line, one would think it would have been relatively easy to buy a ticket.

    Well, maybe she was saving up her money for just that purpose.

    KellyAnn, your husband is right about the value of dust jackets. One of my friends collected mysteries published between the World Wars. He said the dust jacket increased the sale price by 80-90 percent.

    But your are also right, of course, in that you should have them the way you want them

    tory is right around the corner, Molly. You know when they make a movie that takes place in the 40s, the sets are usually from the 40s.

    But when I was a kid in the 40s, many people had their house filled with stuff from earlier decades. Most houses had dark woodwork and old, dark furniture. Some had wood ranges, a pump at the kitchen sink, a pot-bellied or Franklin stove in the living room (parlor). And a coal scuttle.

    There were pictures of relatives and ancestors on the wall from pioneer days. Maybe a beaded curtain from the 20s. Anyway the past and the present were all mixed together.

    Arggggg!!! The computer has really lost its mind. I posting this now before it disappears entirely.

  6. kholmes

    kholmes New Member

    Your story makes me wish I could visit Leroy, Harmony and its library. Did I ask you if Harmony is near Spring Grove, the town where all of my step-siblings were born?
  7. victoria

    victoria New Member

    I remember as a child I was enthralled with pioneer days, used to wish I lived 100 years earlier... my wise Mom would always say, 'No you wouldn't!"

    I remember visiting my grandmother's brother's farm "somewhere" in Wisconsin when I was 7: they had no power, handpump at the sink, hanging kerosene lamp over the table ... and I'm sure there was an outhouse, altho we must've made a pitstop before getting there cuz I don't remember that!

    I thought it and the whole farm was way cool... granted, we were only there for a few hours in the summer tho.

    Now as to libraries... have no idea if they even lived near any little town.... or seriously if they could even read very well.

    Things were so different wayyyy back then, my grandmother (born in 1882) was sent to Chicago to apprentice to a baker at age 14, and this was after quitting school at 10 yo to work as a babysitter for another farm family.

    That was quite normal from many things I've read; and she got along well with her Mother and rest of family, always went up to help her mother in the summers and took my Dad and his siblings.

    But I couldn't imagine sending my daughter off to live with a neighboring family at age 10... They grew up faster back then, I think.


  8. Marta608

    Marta608 Member

    I couldn't leave the board before reading this post. I love books, libraries, small towns and most librarians.

    Also love your official motto, Rock!

  9. woofmom

    woofmom New Member

    Speaking of history, I live in Beaufort, S.C.
  10. sisland

    sisland New Member


    loved reading about the history of small town libraries! I grew up in a very rural area,,,with a small town Named Eureka Montana being the main stop,,,population 1050,,,

    We had a Librarian named "Mrs. Follinsbee" who ran the local library for about 50 some years!,,,,it was small and Quaint but very well stocked for a small town library,,,,,,,Books were Very valuable to my Dad who is now 88,,,,,,,He would hord them!,,, and if you happened to have one he wanted to read ,,,you lent it to him and then it became (His Property!),,,lolol,,,,,

    Depression era and WW2 vet,,,So we all bought him books for gifts over the years about WW2 and lots of Area history books,,,,,He has quite the collection!

    I love hearing about family Histories! We grew up with an outhouse also but of course indoor plumbing was there when i was young,,,,,,It was the 2nd Bathroom,,,,,,,,lolol!,,,,,,,,,,I'm going to Borrow some of thoes books now! lol! But yes i'll do the right thing and take them back!,,,,,,S

    [This Message was Edited on 11/20/2007]
  11. rockgor

    rockgor Well-Known Member

    As I often say, and as this thread points out, history is just around the corner.

    Where were you in Wisconsin, Fight? I lived briefly in Stoughton and went to the U. of W. That makes me a badger as well as a Minnesota gopher.

    Hi Ken. The family used to go to Spring Grove now and then for a Sunday drive. Guess people don't take them anymore. The local bottling plant had great strawberry pop. Cost a nickel, 2 cents deposit on the bottle.

    Last time I was in Minnesota I bought some at a market in Rochester. Still delicious but costs a dollar a bottle now. The plant has been in business over a century.

    Sis, the farmers still had outdoor bathrooms when I was a kid. They got electricity when I was a teenager. So my folks gave my Aunt Myrtle a new coffee pot. First time she used it she forgot to plug it in.

    Woofmom, checking the web I see Beaufort, South Carolina is a historic town, founded in 1711. I also see there is another town by the same name in North Carolina. But the "Beauforts" are not pronounced the same.

    As Phil Harris said, "That's what I like about the South".

    Jaminhealth, I have not seen the new Santa Monica library. Los Angeles is sure putting up some ugly and expensive buildings.

    After years of delay and hundreds of millions in cost overruns, they finally finished the Disney Music Hall. It looks like an enormous aluminum space ship that was dropped into place causing the walls to buckel.

    And the new cathederal down town is just plain weird. The color of sand, it sprawls all over; doesn't look anything like a church.

    Victoria, did you read Laura Ingalls Wilder when you were a kid? She lived in and around Minnesota. Since I left Minnesota at least two L.I.W. museums have opened, one not far from my home town.

    Always good to hear from you Terch, thanks for the kind words.