Library celebrates 100 years

BRANT LAKE Visitors to Brant Lake have been intrigued by the small, stone building on the Mill Pond for many years, and this year, the Heintzelman Library is celebrating its 100th year.

The Society and Friends of the Horicon Free Library are holding a first day cancellation of a pictorial postmark on Saturday, Aug. 4 from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. at the old library building. They are also celebrating a historical marker at the spot.

The anniversary celebration will continue on Saturday, Aug. 18 with a pig roast and old fashioned square dance at the Chestertown Conservation Club from 4-8 p.m. Kids can play games and the Chestertown Rotary will be serving wine and beer.

The library started life in 1902 when Mrs. Emily Heintzelman loaned 150 books to the library, which was housed in a private home. She died of appendicitis in July of that year and was buried in Arlington National Cemetery beside her husband, Capt. Charles Stuart Heintzelman, a Civil War veteran. At the time of her death, she had one son who was in the army.

In July of 1903, the library was moved to the home of Dr. O.H. Perkins, which was located where the present day Horicon Community Center and a formal organization was formed. Officers were elected, and the library was inspected by a representative of the State University, and given advice on how to obtain a charter. That was not to happen.

For the next three years, local socials and other activities continued to raise funds for the library and the land for the building was deeded to the trustees of the Heintzelman by Laura and Scott Barton in September of 1906.

The building was completed in 1907 by John Bennett and inscribed with Heintzelman Library, 1907.

After raising money to run the library for 25 years, the trustees turned to the town board to take responsibility for funding the library, and it has been tax supported ever since.

The advent of the Southern Library System and its bi-monthly bookmobile visits, the library was losing patronage. The books were getting old and needed sorting and the library building was in need of restoration. With contributions of donated labor and money, the library was upgraded.

In 2001, the town built the new Horicon Community Center, which included room for a new library and the Heintzelman Library building now houses the historical library and the office of the town historian.

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