Thursday, May 28, 2020

A History of Bunker Hill Library

Pictured: Present Day Bunker Hill Library

     In 1867, a group of concerned citizens formed a private association for the purpose of establishing a library, consisting of "2,500 volumes of well selected and valuable books".

    On December 6, 1897, the City of Bunker hill passed an ordinance establishing a public library and reading room.  All books, printed material, bookcases, tables, and other furniture owned by the stockholders of the library association were donated and formed the nucleus of the new City Library.  The library was located on the second floor above one of the businesses on the west side d of North Washington Street.  Miss Josephine Mize was the librarian for years.

    In 1945, Mayor Kenneth Miller appointed Mrs. A.E. Strang, Mr. L.E. Sutton, Mrs. Francis Walter, Mrs. Luther Mason, Mrs. O.C. Weidner, Rev. John Colavecchio, Rev. Carl Fritz, Mrs. C.H. Fensterman, and Mr. R.E. Rigg to serve on the re-organized library board.

    Many people donated funds for the purchase of a building at 114 E. Warren Street (where the present History Museum is located) and equipment, as well as spending countless hours assisting in typing and manual labor, etc.

    An open house was held in the new library on July 7, 1947, and librarian Miss Loretta Bartels proudly "showed off" the new facility.

    Less than a year later on March 19, 1948, a disastrous tornado hit Bunker Hill, totally destroying the library building, books, and equipment .  The community responded, and on October 7, 1950, another open house was held for the newly rebuilt and equipped library.  Money, books and equipment had been donated by persons from many other communities as well as Bunker Hill.

Pictured: Aerial View of Post tornado damage to the Bunker Hill Main Business District

    With the passing of time, the need for more space was obvious and in 1967, 100 years after the first library association was formed, Clara and Luther Mason presented the library trustees with a deed to a building at 220 East Washington Street.  After renovation and redecorating, the Kiwanis club moved the books and equipment to the new library, and on April 21, 1968, an open house was held.  An addition to house the reference and genealogy collection was built in 1973.

Pictured: The Bunker Hill City Library at the new location on 220 East Washington St.

...Read this and other Bunker Hill, IL historical stories at

--Cite this story: The Bunker Hill IL Historical Society. "A Look Back in Bunker Hill History." Bunker Hill Gazette-News, May 28, 2020.

Redford, Carol, and Betty Triplett. "Bunker Hill History." In Reflections: A History of the Bunker Hill-Woodburn Area, p. 32. Bunker Hill: Bunker Hill Publications, 1993. Provided by the Bunker Hill Historical Society.

No comments:

Post a Comment