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Steeped in tradition, Heintzelman Library now hosts historical research

BRANT LAKE Perched for decades on the side of Mill Pond near the crossroads of the hamlet, a picturesque and historic stone building has always been a favorite subject of scenery photographers. Until just several years ago, the charming building served as the town library, intriguing visitors and giving local residents a hideaway for reading and relaxation, right in the village. Even though the town library recently moved to large, modern quarters nearby, this small, historic stone building the Heintzelman Library still offers people an idyllic place to read. And it was the actions more than 100 years ago of community members that is now assuring that this place will continue to be a place to relax and stimulate ones mind. In the early 1900s, Emily Heintzelman gave 150 books to the local library, which was housed in a local residents home. Heintzelmans husband was a captain in the Civil War, and the couple lived in which is now Brant Lake Estates, according to Horicon Town Historian Colleen Murtagh. One of the first to recognize the Town of Horicons need for a reading center, Heintzelman was a regular donor and sparked a community movement to establish a library in Bartonville, which is now known as Brant Lake. In July 1903, the library was moved to the home of Dr. O.H. Perkins, located on the site where the Horicon Town Center now stands. In the following three years, all forms of public socials were held to raise funds to construct a local public library. These events included card parties, dances, fairs, and food sales to secure the money. The land for this building was deeded to library trustees by Laura and Scott Barton in September 1906 with the restriction that the land would be used in perpetuity for library purposes only. The present stone and wood building was built by Old John Bennett, completed in 1907 and dedicated as the Heintzelman Library, Murtagh said. Its title is spelled out on the front of the building with stones. After 25 years of offering library service entirely with donated money, the trustees of the Heintzelman Library appealed in the late 1920s to the town officials for the local government to assume responsibility for the institution and the library has been tax-supported since that time. When the town library moved in 2006 to its expanded quarters in the newly-constructed Horicon Town Center to meet state and federal codes, it appeared the stone Heintzelman Library would be closed down and left unoccupied due to the old deed restriction, Murtagh said. I went to the town officials and suggested the building be put to use as a historical library, Murtagh recalled this week. The town board approved the re-use of the building, and Murtagh moved stacks of books out of both her spare bedroom and the Horicon Historical Museum so theyd be available for researchers at the Heintzelman Library, where she now has an office. This historic building is now open at various hours, primarily Tuesday and Thursday afternoon, for those who seek to research local history while they listen to the soothing sounds of water pouring over the Mill Pond Dam and enjoying the ambiance of bygone days, Murtagh said. The Heintzelman Library represents a great deal of local history, so its a perfect building for the town historians office and a quiet place to read and work, she said.

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