Wisconsin Library Heritage Center

The Wisconsin Library Heritage Center is a program of the Wisconsin Library Association Foundation promoting understanding and appreciation of the history of libraries and librarianship in Wisconsin.

Wausaukee's First Free Library

Posted by Larry T. Nix
Larry T. Nix
Larry T. Nix has not set their biography yet
User is currently offline
on Tuesday, January 19, 2010 in Library buildings


Harlan P. Bird (1838-1912) made his fortune in the lumber business in Northeastern Wisconsin. In 1902 he established the Wausaukee Free Library from his own funds in the hope that it would prove "sufficiently popular to draw from places of evil resort." He was elected as a state senator in 1902 and served two terms in the legislature. He served as President of the Wisconsin Library Association in 1904-1905.  The library was part of a "social hall" that also included a reading-room, lunch and dining room, and amusement room. Unfortunately the venture proved to be too costly and Senator Bird abandoned this experiment. The image above is WHi-65460 from the Wisconsin Historical Images collection and is part of a collection of public library photographs from the Wisconsin Free Library Commission. Wausaukee is now served by the Wausaukee Branch of the Marinette County Consolidated Public Library Service.


Larry Nix Friday, January 22, 2010

Brian, thanks for sharing this information with me. Feel free to link to my site. It's nice to see a history page on a community website. Best wishes, Larry

Brian Hartnell Friday, January 22, 2010

Just found your site and the historical info on the library from one of my sources. The web site www.wausaukee.com has this image and the stories supporting Harlan P Bird on our Village Website Historical section. I would like to link your site to assist others interested in library history. After Bird shut down the library, he donated all the volumes to the school which burned to the ground a few years later, all books and school property were a loss. The school did recover and to this day our library is located in the downtown Wausaukee Village, doing very well and serving the needs of readers, with computers, lectures,and video/audio tape materials.

Larry Nix Thursday, January 21, 2010

Caroline, thanks for commenting on the post and sharing your connection with Wausaukee and Marinette County. Larry

Caroline McMahon Unick Thursday, January 21, 2010

Dear Larry,
There is such a thing as serendipity!
I was just browsing the Chatham Libraries website and saw your page. I saw the link for the WI Library Heritage Center and clicked on
the Wausaukee link.
Wausaukee is my hometown and had no library all the while I lived near there on a farm. Sometime in the 40's we did become a stop for the Marinette County Bookmobile.
Currently, there is a library which has recently moved to a historic building on main street. The residents feel very lucky to have a library at all since the population is around 600 persons, as it was when I was growing up. (I was born in 1938)
Thank you for maintaining this website.
Caroline Unick

Leave your comment

Guest Saturday, December 07, 2019


Popular Tags

Black River Falls Public Library Hall of Fame 2015 Klaus Linderfelt Ice Storm Library Artifacts buil Library Buildings People Pewaukee Public Library Delia Ovitz COLAND Gertrude Thurow Library people 21 Cornelia Marving Pierce UW-Milwaukee School of Information Studies Marjorie Sornson Malmberg library education membership libraries J. D. Witter Hall of Fame 2009 Lutie Stearns Campaign for Wisconsin Libraries 23 Eager Free Public Library library memorabilia 27 Uncategorized traveling libraries Portage Public Library library exhibit State Law Library WLA 125 Suring Area Public Library 10 caly film Gilbert H. Doane Sarah Janice Kee Richard J. Sorensen Oshkosh Public Library trav Library History James Huff Stout Wilbur Lyle Eberhart Tower Hill Wisconsin Hall of Fame 2018 Middleton Public Library WLA 125 School of Library and Information Studies Anniversaries campaign Wisconsin Library Association Milwaukee Public Library ca Postcards Campaign for Wisconsin Libraries Louise S. Robbins Elroy Public Library Marketing-Publicity Beaver Dam Public Library Campaign for Wisconsin Libraries Hall of Fame 2017 Amer Wisconsin Library Bulletin Wisconsin Free Library Commission Wisconsin Association of Academic Librarians Robert Bocher Manitowoc Public Library UW-Madison school of library and information studies James Duane Doty Library e Campaign 22 Hartford Public Library Jerome P. Daniels Lowell W. Wilson Library Buidlings Carl Spitzweg Clarence Brown Lester Lucy E. Smith Morris Lutie Eugenia Stearns American Library Association Digital Collections Hall fo Fame 2012 Carnegie libraries Wisconsin Historical Society I Love Libraries cam Inform Wisconsin Wisconsin Library Heritage Center Events Wisconsin Free Library Commission Nolan I. Neds S. Janice Kee Soughton Public Library Irene W. Newman Clinton Public Library Increase A. Lapham Dianne McAfee Hopkins Ruth Ann Montgomery WWI Library War Service Frank Avery Hutchins Richard E. Krug Kimberly-Little Chute Public Library William J. Wilson Hall of Fame 2013 Milwaukee Art Museum Hall of Fame 2014 Hall of Fame 2015 Katharine MacDonald Jones Cam state historical society presentations Parcel post campaign John Miller Chancellor Pinback buttons Postcards WLA 125 Bob Bochfer Nancy Marshall Superior Carnegie Libraries Academic Libraries Wayne A. Wiegand Rusk County Community Library Ruby Roeder Ripon Public Library Events & Meetings Events & Meetings Library People Campaign for Wisconsin Libraries Wisconsin State Normal School-Milwaukee Anniversaries Brown Deer Public Library Orrilla Blackshear Brown County Library Special libraries Black River Falls Beloit Public Library Hall of Fame 2015 14 School libraries Hall of Fame 2008 Capitol Fire 1904 American Library Association Library War Service bed and breakfast Academic Librarians WAAL WHCLIS caly film background Hall of Fame 2016 WLA 125 Gerald A. Somers books-by-mail hall of 11 bookworm Publications Evansville Wisconsin Campaing for Wisconsin Libraries campaign Public libraries library legislation 28 Hall of Fame 2015 Centennial Zona Gale Hall of Fame 2011 Jane K. Billings Bookmobiles Woman's Congress Library celebrations Campaign anniversaries DeForest Area Public Library John J. Jax Sandra Friedman Dolnick Hall of Fame 2018 Council on Library and Network Development Peter G. Hamon Dick Sorensen White House Conference on Library and Information Services Hall of Fame 2019 campa Charles Bunge National Library Week Brown Deer Public Library 24 Dick Sorensen Dorothea M. Krause Hall of Fame 2012 Madison Public Library Hall of Fame 2012 Wisconsin Literary Travel Guide Campaign Meter mail slogans Hall of Fame 2010 World War I Buttons Bernard Schwab Library Systems Public library systems National Bookmobile Day Hall of Fame 2012 Wisconsin Federation of Women's Clubs archives Association of Library Trustees Advocates and Friends Hall of Fame 2015 McMillan Memorial Library Campaign for Wisconsin Libraries Milwaukee Public Library Appleton Public Library Wisconsin Rapids 20 CCBC Library people Postcards Larry T. Nix Helen Adams Wisconsin State Law Library Postcards Wisconsin Library Trustees and Friends caly film Historical Register UW-Milwaukee Libraries Hall Edward Asahel Birge Cooperative Children's Book Center Governor's Conference on Library and Information Services Eratus Swift Wilcox Public libraries Library Trustees Exhibits Matthew S. Dudgeon T. B. Scott Free Public Library

Wisconsin Library Association Foundation Logo