Throwback Thursday: The Founding of Eckhart Public Library

Willennar Genealogy Center’s collection is full of Throwback Thursday potential, so let’s get our #TBT on!

This month marks the 105th anniversary of the laying of the cornerstone for Eckhart Public Library! Today, let’s take a look back at our early history.


Before Auburn had a library, locals could rent books from the town druggist via a rental service sent in by a Chicago firm. In 1906, $307.90 was required by law in order to establish a public library, an amount that was raised by a local group of women called the Thursday Evening Culture Club. The women canvassed the Auburn for the necessary funds, making it possible to rent an upstairs room to house the institution’s 600 books and establish a library board.


Of course, there was hope that a more permanent library would be established, and in 1909, a contract was closed with Andrew Carnegie for the construction of a library building.

However, Charles Eckhart, the owner of the Eckhart Carriage Company, made a counter offer. Eckhart said he would build a library for Auburn on the condition that the Carnegie contract was canceled. His offer was accepted, and in May of 1910, the library’s cornerstone was laid. It was a very special occasion, with music by the Auburn City Band and High School Chorus, as well as a speech by Governor Thomas Marshall.

Reading Room

Upon its completion, the library was officially dedicated in January of 1911. Since then, the library has gone through several changes, including the 1996 addition, and the additions of the Teen, Genealogy, and Annex buildings to the library campus.

Want to see more? Click here and search for “John Martin Smith” and “Eckhart Public Library.”


About Jenny

I am the Associate Director of Eckhart Public Library. My office is in the Administrative Annex, but I can often be found roaming the Eckhart Public Library Campus, performing acts of librarianship in every department! I love to read and learn about history. I'm also a huge fan of movies, TV and pop culture in general, and I love to read books of all types. Currently, I'm working my way around the romance section, with some historical fiction and graphic novels thrown in for variety! But you never know what I'm going to pick up next.
This entry was posted in Throwback Thursday, What's Up At Willennar and tagged , , . Bookmark the permalink.

2 Responses to Throwback Thursday: The Founding of Eckhart Public Library

  1. Pingback: Throwback Thursday: History of The Third Place | Charlie Chat

  2. Pingback: Throwback Thursday: The Auburn Public Library, Part 1 | Charlie Chat

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s