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Public Libraries of Wisconsin
Cities O-Q

Oconto (Farnsworth Public Library)

Not Philo T., but George W., president of the Oconto Lumber Company. He funded the 1903 building, according to Some Wisconsin Library Buildings (1904).

Farnsworth Public Library, Oconto, WI

(L) This is another one of those pseudo-Blue Sky cards, probably a C.U. Williams product, but the effort to tint it seems hardly worthwhile.
(R) An L.L. Cook photo postcard shows some more detail.

Farnsworth Public Library, Oconto, WI

One of my favorite library interior postcards, this shows a card catalog with a couple of drawers hanging open, quite an unruly thing to do. Although this wasn't a Carnegie building, the style of the reference desk in the same as in the Carnegie Type A buildings.

Oconto Falls (Cook's Memorial Library)
Cook's Memorial Library, Oconto Falls, WI

Not many Wisconsin libraries were offshoots of either Ladies' Libraries or Social Libraries, but this one was originally called F.O.S. Club; for Freedom of Speech.


This iteration of Oconto Falls' Library was built between 1919, when its lot was acquired, and 1926. Funds were a bequest from Charles & Anna Cook. 
It served until 1976: the current building, Oconto Falls Community Library, was built in 1991. 

The ca. 1925 building speaks to its time. I believe that it is extant.

The postcard, alas, has no attribution. The cars in the background range in age from the late 1920s to the 1940s. However, the lone pedestrian seems to be wearing a knee-length skirt. 

Ontario, WI Community Hall, containing its library

Surprisingly, this Vernon County community hall is extant, although the library has its own home today. Sponsored by the Ontario Homemakers with PWA assistance, 1931-41. This housed the library until 1953, when an addition was made, and then until 1975. That building was also expanded in 2011.

L.L. Cook photo postcard, never mailed.

Psst! A neon sign over the entrance says PUBLIC LIBRARY.


Isn't this an amazing reading room?
Mercifully, this was mostly left alone when the Library was expanded in 1967 and in 1993.
In 1900, William Waters built the magnificent original building, with this room, and a dome. The dome (a really silly affectation, if you ask me) was closed off in 1951.

The reading room of Oshkosh Public Library
The reading room of Oshkosh Public Library, and its exterior

Postmarked 1906, with a view of the gaslit reading room overlap-
ping the picture of the entire library. 
Note the newly planted tree.

Oshkosh (WI) public library

Misprinted caption (Oshkosk).

Oshkosh (WI) public library

Postmarked 1911. Note that the entrance is barren.

Oshkosh (WI) public library

Hmm, that tree sure took off. 
This card was postmarked 1911, 
and its message is written in code.

Oshkosh (WI) public library, plus lion statues

Photo card, mailed 1926.
We have lions.

Oshkosh (WI) public library
Oshkosh (WI) public library
Oshkosh (WI) public library

Beautiful Rotograph card.
No lions yet.

Dated, in red ink, Sept. 29, 1909.

Oshkosh (WI) public library

Linen finish and heavily retouched, 
by E.C. Kropp of Milwaukee. 
Note the addition of the lions.

Oshkosh (WI) public library

Chrome postcard, pre-addition, 
with copious detail.

Another city which turned down Carnegie funding. Read the library's history at its site.
Despite having declined the Carnegie grant, Oshkosh's Library strongly resembled that of Rockford, IL. Unlike RPL, when OPL expanded, it did so with delightful grace, retaining the beauty of the old section in its local history room. 
OPL was also an early adopter of digitization and electronic resources.

Chrome postcard dates to the 1950s. 
These simply cannot be the trees from the cards on the top.


Village hall. Library. Loading dock? I believe that this is no longer the public library.


Photo postcard, likely by L.L. Cook.

Oxford (WI) public library
Pardeeville (Angie Williams Cox Library)

Both the building and the Chevy are 4-door models.

Dedicated August 26, 1934. Still in use, although only since 1985 has it been a true public library.


L.L. Cook card mailed in 1977.

Angie Williams Cox (Pardeeville, WI) public library
Port Washington (W.J. Niederkorn Public Library)
Pt. Washington (WI) public library

Chrome card from the late 1950s.


Frankly, this treatment makes it look like a motel.
Perhaps that's because it is a chrome postcard.

Recently I drove past this building, but rain made it impossible to take a photo. It doesn't look like a motel at all.


Founded in 1900.
Appears to have moved twice since the Armory days.

An Intensive Historical Architectural and Historical Survey of the City of Portage, Columbia County, Wisconsin has 400+ pages of information about Portage's buildings.

Portage, WI's first, downtown library building
Portage, WI's first, downtown library building

(L) This image sat as an unsolved mystery in a card drawer for years until I realized it was of Portage.
(R) On the left street corner is Story's College of Commerce and Training School, with a cigar store downstairs.




(R, below) An A.C. Bosselman card, printed in Germany, shows a bit more detail.



Portage, WI's first, downtown library building
Zona Gale Breese Memorial Library
Free Library, Zona Gale Breese Memorial, Portage, WI

No longer in use as the city's library since 1995, but serves as a museum. Zona Gale was the first woman to win a Pulitzer Prize (1921), and is virtually forgotten today.


The card, tentatively believed to be produced by Excel Postcard of Milwaukee, has an error in its letterset caption: Breeze instead of Breese.

Prairie Du Sac

The card, No. 6501, is by an unknown manufacturer. The building is rather generic, but Prairie du Sac is not that large a town.


It was replaced in 1997, moving into a former fire station, and finally, in 2012, it got what it deserved in memory of Ruth Culver, of the Culver's Frozen Custard family. 


Behold the Ruth Culver Community Library!

Prairie du Sac (WI) public library

City Hall and Library

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