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Public Libraries of Illinois
Cities L-M

Lake Bluff
Lake Bluff, IL public library

Library located in a former house. Annotated as ca. 1952, which I would consider accurate. Thankfully, the Library is located in a more appropriate building today.

Lake Forest

Dedicated in 1931. You know this just had to be a North Shore library, like that of Highland Park.
It's still in use, with a few additions.

Did people in the '30s call this 'retro' (or its Depression-era equivalent)? It looks to be at least twenty years older than it actually is. To me, it strongly resembles Oshkosh's 1899 building.

Lake Forest, IL public library

(L) A C.R. Childs card, mailed in 1935.
(R)The card is photographic, by L.L. Cook of Milwaukee. It probably was printed after 1958.

Lake Forest, IL public library
Leaf River (Bertolet Memorial Library)

From the Dexter Press postcard:


Former home of Charles A. Bertolet. Opened as a library April 12, 1981.


Sometime since, it has been replaced with a more appropriate building.

Bertolet Memorial Library, Leaf River, IL

I believe that this is now known as the J.T. and E.J. Crumbaugh Memorial Public Library.  It was built in 1927 and is still in use. Its architect was A.L. Pillsbury.
The Crumbaughs appear to have also founded a Spiritualist Church in the central Illinois town.


This is a 'Groganized' photograph, out of Danville, IL. It was never mailed, and without cars or other clues, I can't date it.

LeRoy, IL public library

AKA Smith Memorial Library, named for Mary Emma Smith.

Although this wouldn't be called a Ladies' Library, it was designed with rooms for the families of farmers to use during market days. Its cornerstone was laid in 1913. It's still in use today.

Poorly postmarked C.T. American Art Black & White (Curt Teich) postcard. Its architecture has much in common with Midwest school buildings in the early 20th century.

Lexington, IL Public Library
Libertyville (Cook Memorial Library)
Cook Memorial Library, Libertyville, IL
Cook Memorial Library, Libertyville, IL
Cook Memorial Library, Libertyville, IL

1952 Curt Teich linen finish card.

Photo card mailed in 1945.

Paul H. Vogel photo card, unmailed.

Not in Cook County. Not in the Deep South, either, despite its antebellum appearance.
The 1952 Curt Teich card gives us some building history.

The stately old mansion was the home of Ansel Brainard Cook, one of Libertyville's early settlers. Built in the late 1860's the home and the grounds were bequeathed to the Village by his wife, and today the Cook Memorial Library is the outstanding landmark of Libertyville.

In use from 1921 - 1968: the 1964 Teich card gives the first date as 1924.

Since 1973, when the township board was dissolved, known as the Cook Memorial Public Library District. Its website has a clever history page.

Loda (A. Herr Smith & E.E. Smith Loda Township Library)
Loda Township Library, Loda, IL

Quite the handful of a name for such a tiny library.

Built in 1896. Quite impressive fact.


Published by A.C. Hutchinson, mailed in 1910. According to the writer, 'It is a lovely place.' She mailed it to Atlanta.

Lombard (Helen M. Plum Library)
Helen M. Plum Public Library, Lombard, IL, housed in former residence.

From the Curt Teich linen finish card:

The Helen M. Plum Memorial Library is situated in lovely Lilacia Park. Its charming reading rooms offer a restful retreat for visitors to lilac time in Lombard. The library as well as Lilacia Park are gifts of the late Col. William Plum.

The current library lies partially underneath Lilacia Park, which causes all sorts of logistical restraints.
This 1968 Curt Teich 'chrome' captures its rear wing while featuring the park.


Founded in 1927 as a replacement for the 1905 Josiah Reade House.
In turn, it was replaced in 1963.
Lombard is known as the 'Lilac City,' hence 'Lilacia Park.'

Helen M. Plum Public Library, Lombard, IL
Loves Park

Wow, this is a pathetic photo postcard.
Rest assured: Loves Park has a much nicer library today, and they are currently renovating the 1968 building.


Using the library history, and the postmark on this unassuming photo postcard, we can date it between 1950 and 1952.

Loves Park, IL post office and public library
Marengo (Strahorn Memorial Library)
Strahorn Memorial Library, Marengo, IL

(L) The L.L. Cook photo card might date from the late 1950s.
(R) A newer L.L. Cook card: the station wagon is from the 1960s. The parking meter might also be a good clue.

Strahorn Memorial Library, Marengo, IL

Now known as the Marengo - Union Public Library.

Marengo's library was founded in 1907, and built the Andrew Lindquist-designed building in the mid-1920s.

This building was outgrown in 1993, and the library returned to its first building. Very strange.
Finally, a new building opened in 2014.

McLeansboro (Mary E. McCoy Library)
Mary E. McCoy Library, McLeansboro, IL

This interesting building (the Aaron G. Cloud House), built in 1884 as a private dwelling, is still in use as a library. I have no idea if it is, or could be, made ADA-compliant.
Its second floor is a genealogy library.


The post card is another one of those 'C.T. Photo-Finish' jobs.

Mendota (Graves-Hume Public Library)
Graves-Hume Public Library, Mendota, IL

Replaced the Carnegie building in 1993. The postcard states that the Library was a gift from Horace D. Hume in memory of James D. Hume, his son. 


The photograph for the postcard was taken by Ruth Dunlap.


I'm not certain that I find this building attractive. The entrance looks like it was swiped from a KinderCare facility.

Milledgeville (Mary Fletcher Library)
Mary Fletcher Library, Milledgeville, IL

The 1923 building really looks like a late Carnegie, but is not. It appears to have been replaced.


W.R. Clough postcard.

Minonk (Filger Public Library)
Filger Public Library, Minonk, IL

Built in 1915 on land donated by David Filger. Its architecture resembles that of the non-Prairie Carnegie buildings of the late era, and that of the small town schools of the day.
Still in use.
Curiously, the Library's web page uses blogging software.


The postcard is branded 'Black & White,' possibly a Curt Teich budget production. It was mailed in 1937.

Momence (Edward Chipman Public Library)
Edmard Chipman Public Library, Momence, IL

(L) Card, probably produced by C.R. Childs, was mailed in 1914.
(R) Strange product by Curt Teich, although its issues aren't obvious. Published under the 'C.T. Photo-Platin' marque, it bears a date code more associated with Teich's other ventures. Furthermore, it appears to have been struck on thin cardstock.
Probably printed in 1936: never mailed.

Edmard Chipman Public Library, Momence, IL

Remarkably little information available online: the Library's web site is under construction; but shows this building, intact.


Opera House and Public Library, Monticello, Ill.
This bleak card was produced by H.M. Shuck & Co.


Surprisingly, the library remains in this facility, although the opera house function is no more. I know which I'd choose.

Monticello, IL Opera House and Public Library
Morrison (Odell Public Library)
Former Odell, IL library building. Former church.

Photo card.
Over the door reads: Giladi Building Library Atheneum. 
Over the window: Morrison Literary & Scientific Association.


Housed in an former Congregational church. John Danforth Odell purchased and donated the building to the community.

One of the later L.L. Cook postcards has a wide border. The photo manages to catch the side of a gasoline station to the left.


This building housed the Odell Public Library from 1879 to 1995.

I also long for the days when Science, with a respectful capital S, was held in such high esteem that a civic group met to study it.

Former Odell, IL public library housed in a plain building
Mount Prospect
Mt. Prospect (IL) Library

Two photo cards show the library from different angles. The left was taken in 1952, or very early 1953; the right, sometime after 1954.

Mt. Prospect (IL) Library

The quintessential Chicago suburb.

This is the 4th (1950) building to house the Mount Prospect Public Library. Surprisingly for Illinois, it is an independent library, not part of any regional system.

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