Thursday, January 26, 2012

This Month's Library News (a Century Ago)

As part of our 100th anniversary celebration during 2012, we will be looking back a century to see what library news was breaking in Mooresville, Indiana.

The proverbial ball was rolling in January, 1912, as concerned citizens were circulating petitions for signature demonstrating public support for construction of a new public library in Mooresville.  This public push began in October, 1911.  The Friends Aid Society met at the home of Mrs. George Carter to campaign for a new facility. On December 12, 1911, a meeting was held at F. E. Carlisle's furniture store with representatives of local organizations, including the Likely Literary Club, Bay View Club, several churches, the Board of Education, and the school superintendent, A. C. Payne. Carrie E. Scott, librarian and a representative of the Public Library Commission, presided. Enthusiastic support prompted a public meeting on December 18, 1911 at the Methodist Episcopal (M.E.) Church, which is now the Mooresville Town Government Center. Jacob Dunn, president of the Public Library Commission, and library board members from Plainfield and Martinsville encouraged Mooresville's efforts to reestablish its library.  By January, 1912, efforts were well under way to garner public support in town and surrounding Brown Township in Morgan County.

1912 view of West Main Street (looking west from the intersection
with Indiana Street) in downtown Mooresville, Indiana.
The new library would be built on the right,
where the second stand of trees is visible
(Click images to enlarge photos)

In the photo above, the word bank was traced in ink on the sign above the entrance to Farmers State Bank.  To see additional photos of downtown Mooresville during this time period, click here and here and here.  For yet more history about downtown, just browse this blog's archives.

In January and February, 1912, officials of the town government began searching for prospective sites for the new library.  Stay tuned to learn some of the surprising possible locations that were initially selected, and the resultant public furor that shaped the final decisions.

McCracken Hotel & Restaurant (1912)

Here's a teaser:  The eventual library locale was directly across from this popular restaurant.

Want to take a walking tour of downtown Mooresville?  Probably not in January, but here's some information, anyway.  Watch our local history trailer, too.

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