Galena in Jo Daviess County, Illinois — The American Midwest (Great Lakes)
Galena Public Library
Two years later, Felt offered to pay the total costs to start a library, donate 1,200 books, as well as find and pay for a location. The qualification was that after two years the city would then take over and run the library with a tax of forty cents per household per year. The offer met with tremendous public support, and the City Council voted to accept Felt's generous proposition.
B. F. Felt's proposal was unique in one important respect. He stipulated that four of the nine Library Board Trustees be female. The Chicago Evening Post was unable to find a woman library director in any institution in Chicago, reporting, "Galena truly has put Chicago to the blush." Anna Felt was the first financial secretary of the Board of Trustees and remained on the trustee board until her death in 1953.
The Galena Public Library and Reading Room opened on January 3, 1895, on the second floor
Within a few years, the library was overcrowded. In 1905, David Sheean, the President of the Board of Trustees, contacted Andrew Carnegie, who offered $12,500 if a site were furnished and if the city would maintain the library. The B. F. Felt Estate matched the Carnegie offer and would also provide land for the library.
Anna Felt bought the library lot and stipulated that the site be viewed from the heart of town, "a perspective in perpetuity." To ensure the building's visibility from Main Street and Park Avenue, Anna purchased property and the Stillman family donated land in front of the library from Bench Street to Main Street, which became known as Library Park.
The cornerstone of the new library was laid on April 27, 1907. Built of Indiana limestone in Classical Greek Style, the library building also incorporated Prairie Style elements in its interior. The two glass mosaic fireplaces were a gift from Emma Robb, originator of the children's story hour and a family friend of the Felts. The wrought iron stacks are original to the old Post Office library. The
The Galena Public Library had three indispensable founders in Benjamin Felt, Anna Felt and David Sheean. Through the years, many trustees, librarians and patrons have also made and continue to make vital contributions to its success.
Galena Public Library Timeline
October 4, 1894 Library founded by Benjamin Franklin Felt.
January 3, 1895 Library opened to the public on the second floor of the old Post Office.
May 12, 1906 Building site chosen.
October 8, 1906 First sod turned.
April 27, 1907 Cornerstone laid.
July 4, 1908 Galena Public Library dedication.
July 4, 2008 Flag Raising at centennial celebration.
Erected by Friends of Galena Public Library, Inc.
Topics and series. This historical marker is listed in these topic lists: Architecture • Charity & Public Work • Women. In addition, it is included in the Carnegie Libraries series list. A significant historical date for this entry is October 4, 1894.
Location. 42° 24.724′ N, 90° 25.897′ W. Marker is in Galena, Illinois, in Jo Daviess County. Marker is on South Bench Street just north of Magazine Street, on the right when Touch for map. Marker is at or near this postal address: 601 South Bench Street, Galena IL 61036, United States of America. Touch for directions.
Other nearby markers. At least 8 other markers are within 14 miles of this marker, measured as the crow flies. The De Soto House (approx. 0.2 miles away); Ulysses S. Grant Home (approx. 0.4 miles away); The Point Of Beginning (approx. 6.6 miles away in Wisconsin); St. Augustine Church (approx. 9.8 miles away in Wisconsin); Father Samuel Mazzuchelli (approx. 11.2 miles away in Wisconsin); The Old Chicago Stageroad (approx. 13 miles away in Wisconsin); City of Presidents Presidential Shields (approx. 13.3 miles away in Wisconsin); The Whistle Post (approx. 13.4 miles away in Wisconsin). Touch for a list and map of all markers in Galena.
Regarding Galena Public Library. Contributing property, Galena Historic District, NRHP #69000056 and #13000854.
Also see . . . Early History of the Galena Public Library. The cornerstone was laid, appropriately for Galena, on President Grants birthday, April 27, 1907. The new library was built of Indiana limestone in the Classical Greek architecture preferred by Andrew Carnegie. The newspaper referred to the “new Galena Felt-Carnegie Library”. The costs of the building, lots, endowments, etc. to initiate the new library was nearly $60,000 of which (Submitted on April 17, 2021, by Cosmos Mariner of Cape Canaveral, Florida.)
Credits. This page was last revised on April 17, 2021. It was originally submitted on April 15, 2021, by Cosmos Mariner of Cape Canaveral, Florida. This page has been viewed 107 times since then and 44 times this year. Photos: 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12, 13. submitted on April 17, 2021, by Cosmos Mariner of Cape Canaveral, Florida.