Eula & David Wintermann Library

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History dates back to year 1909

HISTORY OF LIBRARY IN EAGLE LAKE, TEXAS DATES BACK TO THE YEAR 1909

The following writings are from the works of Mrs. W.H. Harrison dated February 6, 1975:

As far back as 1909 there has been an interest among the women of Eagle Lake in the studies of historical, cultural, and social subjects.  I have in my possession a Study Club year Book of that date that describes a course of study that would be interesting and challenging today.

In 1919 Mrs. Milby Guynn, who is today a sprightly 90 years old, Mrs. G. H. Bowles, Mrs. J. M. Dromgoole, Mrs. I. V. Duncan, Mrs. E. W. Hanley, Mrs. O. G. Kolberg, Mrs. J. O. Rogers, Mrs. S. O. McCarty and Mrs. T. W. Oliphant organized the Eagle Lake Study Club.  This group pursued these same interests.  The programs were often based on the "Mentor", a magazine that covered a wide variety of topics. The members all took part in the presentations of these programs.

Through the years the need for a library was felt, and discussed, and finally plans were made to establish one.  Mrs. I.V. Duncan served as chairman to make the arrangements.  She, with her committee, secured permission from the City Council to locate the library upstairs in the old City Hall.  This location had been serving as a meeting place for the Study Club. The members agreed to take turns being Librarian.  A charge of $1.00 per year was the fee set for a library card.  Mrs. J.O. Rogers headed the Library Committee.  There were committees appointed to arrange for membership cards and to secure books.  The call went out for book donations.

A great deal of publicity had been granted the opening of the new Library on May 2, 1931 at 2:00 p.m. May Welford, was to make a speech.  The public was invited. The members had brought books, cleaned them, shelved them, and looked forward to a fine service for the community. The members came, Mayor Welford made a speech, but little interest was shown by the public that day.

The women were not daunted, however, and recognizing the need for interesting children in reading, they planned entertainment for them and gave books as prizes. Children bought cards for 50 cents and brought their mothers with them to help in the entertainment. For several years a Halloween Party was given; cookies, candies, and drinks were sold, and Mrs. Hoeninghaus told peoples' fortunes.  All the money that was made was spent for children's books, and the Library began to show life.  As part of the reading program, plays were presented in the school auditorium during the summer months.

The library moved from City Hall and was located for several years in the Norris Building.  In 1952 the first Canasta Party was given to raise funds.  In this year it was decided to move the Library to the new Community Center. Mrs. Finley Durbin and Mrs. Justin Smith, with the help of two girls, checked the books with the book list, dusted and packed the books in cardboard boxes and labeled them for proper shelving. The Library had grown to fill 37 large boxes. In the middle of the move, Mr. and Mrs. Durbin had to leave for Houston for business reasons, and David Wintermann sent a truck with a driver and four helpers to move the books.

On June 18, 1952, was the eventful date that literally was the turning point in the survival of our Library. Study Club meetings were not held in the summer months but Mrs. Justin Smith, who had assumed Library Chairman duties, issued a call for help to set up a Library. Mrs. Eula Wintermann was the first to come and helped secure other workers.  The following year the Library was recognized as a Public Library by the State Library Commission. Help has come from the State in the form of books loaned and given, a program started on February 17, 1954, and in workshops given in which local board members participated, and by area workers who have visited the Library from time to time for consultation.

Gifts of $250 each from Mrs. J. H. Foster, Mrs. Vineyard, and Mr. and Mrs. Hayes Stephens on December 16, 1953, gave the Library a very big boost.  Mrs. Doole donated a typewriter to the Library and Dr. and Mrs. Foster contributed funds for purchase of World Book Encyclopedias.  Mr. Stephens and Dr. Foster contributed $250 each again in January 1955 to aid in the library's operation and in purchase of new books.

FUND RAISING PROJECTS BY THE STUDY CLUB OF EAGLE LAKE

The Study Club has consistently been engaged in raising funds for the library. Two very profitable auctions, a home's tour, a kitchen tour, game parties, and a flea market are projects the club has sponsored in recent years to raise money.  These funds have gone toward the purchase of books.  In 1968 the Library  became aware  that to serve the community more adequately it would need to ask for more help from the community. The City Council of Eagle Lake was approached and they graciously included the Library in the City Budget.  The Library was given $240 for the year. The Library, along with the Library Board, and members of other towns in Colorado County, approached the County Commissioners for aid, and were granted $1,000 per year. This money was used to pay the salary of the Librarian. 

At the Study Club meeting in February 1975, Mayor Elmer Struss presented the Club with a check in the amount of $480 from the City of Eagle Lake --- double the amount that had previously been allocated. Mayor Struss said, "we want you to know that we appreciate the support you have given us.  The many years we have been housed in the Eagle Lake Community Center have been possible through your interest and dedication."