Looking Back...

Recently, a colleague, Paul Nelson, Professor Emeritus at the University of Wisconsin, sent out a request for anyone who had a history of a library started by a woman's group, to send him the  story.  Reading the following, I was once again very proud to have moved to this community, with such a rich history of support and love for the library.

History of the Wild Rose Library and the Patterson Memorial Library

From the binder created by the Wild Rose Women’s Club, written by Pearl S. Dopp, January 1970:

(Some dates added by the editor, Kent Barnard, as clarification)


“It was forty years ago that the Wild Rose Women’s Club and P.T.A. joined hands to establish a library in the village hall.  It was in the winter of 1930, the depth of the depression, when no one had money to buy books or periodicals or amusement.  The Village Board built book shelves and Mrs. Katherine Patterson, Rev. W.T. Williams and Mrs. George Dopp went from house to house collecting books to fill them.

 Mrs. Anna Hoaglin was the first librarian and gave of herself and her time until her death in 1954.  Rev. W.T. Williams was the first president, and on his death, Mrs. George Dopp became president.

Other trustees were Mrs. Frank Dopp and William Godson, who was superintendent of schools.  Mr. Godson is retired and living in Marinette.  He and Mrs. George Dopp are the only living members of the charter board of trustees.  She has served forty years.

For Several years, the PTA gave it’s lunch money to the library.  The community gave plays, recitals, bake sales, donation suppers, movies for its support.  The Woman’s Club always  supported it regularly and generously, always hoping to have a separate, adequate building to house its collection of books.

Then, suddenly, within the space of 16 days, the library lost two of its most faithful workers, Mrs Hoaglin and Mrs Patterson.  Mrs. Claude (Ruth)Clark, who had done library work in Ladysmith and Milwaukee, became the new librarian, and the will of Katherine Patterson left the village $10,000 for a new library.  (1954 ed.)

The Village Board appointed a building committee consisting of three members of their board and three library trustees.  In compliance with Mrs. Patterson’s wish, the building committee decided to build the new library on the “village lot”, which had been given to the village by the late Frank Clark when the village was platted.  After several meetings with Hannis S. Smith, State Library Consultant, an architect, Don Hougen, was selected and plans approved.  As far as possible, local people were employed and local businesses patronized.  It was bread cast on the waters for these local people gave of themselves and their materials.

Before deciding on furnishings, the building visited recently constructed libraries in Kewaskum, New Lisbon, and Appleton.  As funds were running low, a letter listing needs were sent to the people of Wild Rose and to local organizations.  With characteristic Wild Rosean loyalty and enthusiasm, gifts began to pour in --- volunteer labor, memorial funds, cash for furnishingsa, discounts on materials, magazine subscriptions, new books, money for landscaping, top soil for the lawn.  The gifts amounted to well over $3000.

On January 9, 1957 a procession of Camp Fire Girls, Blue Birds and Boy Scouts carried the contents of the library to its new home.  On Feb. 10 the Woman’s Club gave a silver tea open house to augment the Anna Hoagl Memorial Fund.  In August the Patterson Memorial Library was dedicated.  (August 11, 1957, ed.)

When the library moved there were about 2000 volumes, many of them not library quality; now there are 6000, all of them from library-approved lists. Then there was a circulation of about 2000, now 11,000.  Then the library was open 4 hours per week , now 18.

The library board at present has Mrs. George Dopp, Mrs. Carl Brownslow, Mrs. Miles Beulow, Mrs. Everett Wilcox, Mrs. Alden Attoe and David Clayton as trustees.  The high school superintendent is an ex-officio member.

               Forty years is a long, long, time.”


(In 1980, Linda R. Steffen became the 3rd Library Director in Wild Rose, and the Second at the Patterson Memorial Library.  She served in that Capacity for 32 years.  On June 1, 2012 Kent A. Barnard assumed the role at the Patterson Memorial Library as the fourth Director.  The library is now in her 83rd year and is still supported heartily and loyally by the residents of Wild Rose.  Editor)