Everything is Moving!!
Updated: Apr 27
Last week I noticed that some things at the library had been moved! As I looked around, I noticed this new "Local History" section! I decided to take a peek & ended up spending several hours here! I started off with a simple search - to find older pictures of my beautiful home, The Vespasian Warner Library. With a little help from my friends, that lead to a closer look at the library, Vespasian Warner, C.H. Moore, Miss Kent, & so much more! Check out my findings & some resources that you may not have known existed in this beautiful building!
Flying around last week, I noticed that the Graphic Novels had moved leaving a ton of empty shelves & I wondered what would fill them. The next day I had my answer! "Local History" signs started to appear & some books began to show up... then the yearbooks moved... then these grey file cabinets! I couldn't help but wonder, "What is all of this stuff?" so I decided to stop & check things out. It was then that I realized books are HEAVY & that I would need some backup! Dozer the Dragon & Snickers the Gargoyle volunteered to help me carefully move the books off of the bookcase & onto the nearby table where I could view them better. Before long their curiosity got the better of them. I am guessing that the sounds of "Check this out" and "Wow, look at this" and "Did you know that?" finally drew in Echo, Weatherby (W.B.), & even Tony the Guard Lion into the new Local History section!
I explained to my friends that I really wanted to find an old picture of the Vespasian Warner Library & all of my friends went to work. We started with the books & Tony the Guard Lion stumbled on the Clinton 1835-1985, DeWitt County 1839-1985, Illinois history book. This book explained that the original library was only a glimmer in the eye of the B Chapter P.E.O. Society in 1901. Vespasian Warner donated the land, some funding, & the original library was completed in 1906 with over 8,000 volumes, including a collection of C.H. Moore books. The book also mentioned several past librarians including Miss Lillian Kent. That name sounded familiar, but I just couldn't place it.
Echo remembered that their was a photo of Miss Kent close to her door in the Periodical's Room. Dozer was kind enough to fly us all on a little field trip to check it out!
The Clinton 1835-1985, DeWitt County 1839-1985, Illinois history book opened up a lot more questions that needed answered! Who was Vespasian Warner? Who was C.H. Moore? Why is the entrance to the library on the North side of the building in this picture? So our search kinda changed.
Snickers (& his pet bunny) found a lot of information on C.H. Moore in another book titled Portrait and Biography Album, DeWitt and Piatt Counties. Snickers shared with us that Moore was originally from Ohio & moved to Illinois in 1835 with less than $5 in his pocket. He settled in Clinton in 1841 and set up his law practice here in DeWitt county, practicing law with his son-in-law, Vespasian Warner.
While Snickers was sharing his knowledge about C.H. Moore, Dozer the Dragon shared some information about C.H. Moore's Clinton home that he found in the "DeWitt County Museum Association" vertical file, including a Pantagraph article from Nov. 19, 1967 - "Old Mansion to House New Museum". This file contained tons of information about the Mansion (now called the DeWitt County Museum & C.H. Moore Homestead), it's history, & as it turns out, the very popular Apple & Pork festival that is held on the grounds each year. That explains all the people last month! So many people!
Dozer the Dragon was fascinated with some of the library's history that he discovered in the "Clinton - Library History - General" vertical file. As you read through the newspaper clippings, it turns out that the library we live in today has gone through some major changes since it was built in 1906. There were several newspaper articles from the early 1900's explaining how the library building came to be! The library collection was completely moved into the new library by Sept. of 1908, but didn't open to the public until Oct. 19, 1908 after a few delays due to lack of electrical bulbs for the basement lights. In a June of 1949 clipping, the lighting got a huge upgrade to the new fluorescent lighting at the cost of $3,217.06. 1951 brought the "fast growing" library's 50th anniversary. Remember Miss Lillian Kent? We found so many articles about her 56 years of service to the library including the announcement of her retirement & her reception in April 1966. The first book return box was put into service in November 1967. Purchased in 2003, the library's "green space" became available for program events. And over the years, the library has been the site of more programs, art displays, & historical displays than we could count. All of this information, & more, were found in the vertical files!
Wow! What an amazing history the Vespasian Public Library contains! But, that is not all! As we were looking for information on the library, we stumbled upon more information on other important pieces of local history.
Lincoln's connection to Clinton & DeWitt County
Personal accounts written by several local authors
Clinton & DeWitt County's ties to several wars including the War of 1812, Civil War, World War II
School yearbooks from several DeWitt County School Districts, including Clinton, Wapella, and Kenney
Newspaper clippings about:
Local churches (past & present)
DeWitt County schools (past & present) & sport teams
DeWitt County monuments, parks, & organizations
We spent hours here & could have spent hours more! If you are interested in any local history, check out this new "Local History" section of the library! So many great resources! Thankfully, you won't need a dragon, gargoyle, & lion to help you!
Oh, and I did find a photo of my home tucked nicely in one of the vertical file folders from 1908! I have such a beautiful home that I am so honored to live in!
Until next time my library friends,
Morgan, The Main Floor Fairy (with LOTS of help from Dozer the Dragon,
Snickers the Gargoyle, Tony the Guard Lion, Echo & W.B.)