The Public Library.
attempts at founding a Library in York were made prior to the
Spring of 1885, when the ladies of the I. C. Society (now the Pi
Beta Phi Fraternity) decided to make the effort. The ladies of the
Society at that time were Mesdames I. N. Jerome, C. A. McCloud, F.
B. Daggy, C. M. Boynton, R. V. Hunter, W. A. Harrison, Misses
Vinnie Harrison, Anna Harrison, Rilla and Flora Wyckoff, Mae
Baldwin, Maud Chilcote, Nellie Woods, Minnie Freeman and Nell
Hackney. The town was canvassed and the sum of one hundred dollars
The officers chosen from the ladies or the city to assist the Society were Mrs. F. O. Bell, President, Mrs. W. M. Knapp, Secretary, and Mrs. C. M. Cowan, Treasurer.
The money donated was expended for books and as there was not enough to pay rent for a room, the offer of Dr. Hatfield of a book-case in his office to use as a City Library was gladly accepted. The Library was open Saturday afternoons and the first afternoon there were thirty books given out, soon after this A. D. Wyckoff gave the Library the use of a room in his building, rent free; this room is now occupied by Mr. Meissner's cloak room. The Library filled three cases of books while occupying this room and when they out-grew this place they moved to a room on the west side of the square, now over H. Behling's, store which they occupied until in 1894, the City Council appointed a committee consisting of D. Heislar, H. Reader and Geo. R. Reed to confer with the ladies of the Library Board as to organizing a free Public Library. The Council for that year consisted of J. O. Steinbach Mayor, Councilmen D. H. Heislar, N. M. Ferguson, H. Reader, W. A. Miller, Geo. R. Reed, J. W. Wood, Jos. Collier and A. Bissell.
The Council decided that the city needed a
Library and the Library needed the support of the citizens, and
thus the York Free Library was opened to the public in a room in
the City Building in February 1894. The Ladies' Library had 800
books in good condition, the High School 200 and the Y. M. C. A
100, these were the nucleus of the new Library. The room in the
City Hall became too small very soon and for a number of years the
Library occupied a room upstairs in the First National Bank
In 1900 through the bequest of Mrs. Lydia Woods, wife of G. W. Woods, one of York's most public spirited citizens, the City of York became possessed of ten thousand dollars, eight thousand dollars to erect a building and two thousand to be expended for books. There has probably been no event in the History of York which caused more universal rejoicing than the news of the totally unexpected gift of this generous lady.
The work of erecting the new Wood's Library building was begun by securing plans for the building. Of the plans submitted, those of Morrison H. Vail of Dixon & Chicago were decided upon as best for all purposes, particularly as offering promise of cheap administration. Mr. Vail is considered a Library Architect having visited three hundred and seventy Libraries before planning his first one, and the Board felt it could not err in adopting the plans of such an expert.
From the Wood's fund there has been expended $850 for site, $7,000 for building and of the book money $1,174.04, leaving still unexpended of that fund $822.96. The Board placed a Memorial Tablet to Mrs. Woods, in the portal of the front entrance, that cost $41.00 paid out of entertainment proceeds: for sidewalks paid $212.50; for electric light wiring and fixtures $102.20; for furnace $146.00.
The Library Board consists of Hon. E. A. Gilbert Pres., F. A. Hannis Vice Pres., Mrs. C. A. McCloud Sec. The Building Committee was composed of Dr. Sedgwick, J. E. Evans and E. J. Wightman. The other members of the Board are Mrs. W. A. Harrison, Mrs. W. F. Reynolds and Mrs. Etta Harrison. Mrs. W. A. Harrison is chairman of the Book Committee.
The new building was opened to the public,
November 4, 1902. The furniture and stacks for the building cost
$800. The room in the south west corner of the building, known as
the Librarian's Room, was beautifully furnished by the City
Improvement Society and the Clubs of the City are permitted to
hold their meetings there. The ladies of the Board recently held a
bazaar for the purpose of obtaining funds for the book-stacks in
which they were aided by the ladies of the City. The amount they
realized in cash and from the sale of articles was $200, and the
Fourth of July Committee gave the ladies a nice balance of $50.00.
The Council has granted the full levy allowed by law for the
support of the Library but it will take it all to pay cost of
administration and the future of the Library depends on the manner
the citizens support the enterprise.
It was said at the opening of the Library that this was a woman's enterprise inasmuch as it was started by women, sustained through its first doubtful years by women, and, at last by the generous thoughtfulness of a good woman, was made possible the glorious future of the Library of York. But the readers are as many men as women; and in the Juvenile Department, that part of a library which makes its impress on the growth of a city, there were more boy readers than girls.
Let us hope then that the free use of this beautiful building made possible to us by the gift of a woman, will inspire some one to liberally endow this good work and thus secure forever to the city of York, the need of good that Mrs. Woods had in mind when she gave us the bequest.
JEWELS' HOME." A
home for children by children. Little "Jewels' Bands" wisely
directed by the good mothers, ply the willing brain, heart and
hand in raising money for the support of the children in "Mother's
MOTHER'S: -- The "Cornelias" in Israel. "JEWELS:" -- Children in organized effort. "HOME:" -- The Bethesda provided The name is Talismanic, bearing the "Christ's spell," who, even against the protest of His chosen disciples set His seat of recognition on the love and care for these "little ones" that grows brighter and more beautiful as the years round into centuries.
LOCATION. Our "Land Endowment" comprises 160 acres -- the first acquisition -- and a beautiful, added plot of about 12 acres, immediately east of the Home Site, and only separated by the public highway. The 12 acres is of an addition to the city of York and within the incorporate limits of the city.
Thus our Home adjoins the city on the northwest and our buildings only about one mile from the business center of this unique city, of approximately six thousand inhabitants.
The location of the city is a beautiful one. A high average of good and tasteful residences and clean and attractive lawns. Its citizens are far above the average in intelligence and thrift. Christian denominations well represented in membership and appropriate church edifices. Its public schools rank with the foremost, in the face of the fact that the city has not even one saloon. In music, we do not have to go abroad for the best.
THE HOME BUILDINGS. These are located as follows: the "York Farm Cottage," a very commendable frame two story building, with fifteen rooms and dormitories, where we do our cooking and eating, and our laundry work. Here also are homed, under a governess, the larger and medium sized boys for whose accommodation there are two ample dormitories, a library and play room.
The Main Building which is the new building, a
little over 100 feet north of "Farm Cottage" is almost 70 feet
square on foundation, is three stories above basement, the
basement and first story being of brick and second and third
stories of wood.
Here are our offices, reception rooms, girls' dormitories and our "memorial hall." In the memorial hall we have placed "marble tablets" on which are engraven "in letters of gold" the names of persons or societies who contributed one hundred dollars towards the erection of this "House Beautiful;" and which blessed privilege is made available to all who shall make a like donation for our much needed enlargement.
"Jessie Dinger Hospital" and "Stare Retreat" are located on the 12 acre plot which we have usually designated as "THE HOSPITAL ANNEX." Jessie Dinger Hospital being across the public road, just east of "Farm Cottage," and "Stare Retreat" is in a similar position as to Main Building, just across the road east.
Each of these cottages bears the name of a sainted loved one, whom tender, loving survivors have thus beautifully memorized, by placing these precious gifts at the disposal of this "Children's Home." Blessed memory! -- in influence for present and future. How like the delightful perfume from the "Costly Alabaster Box." Its rich aroma shall ascend to the greeting of Him whose benedictions upon the "little ones" are as words "graven with an iron pen and lead in the rock forever.
Farm Buildings. Barn, granaries, implement and carriage houses and stock yards are conveniently arranged at a safe and proper distance southwest from the Home buildings. All these buildings are on the southeast corner of our beautiful quarter section of land, thus bringing us to the nearest point of the city.
HEALTH CONDITIONS. Our Home site, with respect to natural conditions of sanitation, could hardly be excelled. The lay of the land is sufficiently undulating to effect perfect drainage, so that we have no ponds or stagnant pools in our neighborhood.
SUPPLY. We have excellent well water, two
first class wells that are never affected by dry weather, each
having a good windmill. We are also connected with the city water
supply, which is especially gratifying, as a more sure safe guard
against tire or a water famine. The city water is also first
class, from deep wells, outside the city.
OUR HOME SCHOOL. We have a good school, two teachers, and grade with the public schools, teaching the grades, numbering from first, to, and including the sixth. Our more advanced pupils attend the city public schools.
RELIGIOUS SERVICES. We have chapel services, Sabbath school and weekly prayer meeting; also an Epworth League, which is composed of the larger children of the Home.
We also make it a rule to take the children to one public preaching service in the city each Sabbath. Of course we cannot take all the children at once, but manage to take at least half each Sabbath, and so alternating from Sabbath to Sabbath.
HOW SUPPORTED. The Home in under the auspices of the Women's Home Missionary Society of the Methodist Episcopal Church of the United States, so is national in its scope.
ELLIGIBLE CHILDREN. Orphan and half orphan children, sound in body and mind, over three and under twelve years old, who are not incorrigible, are admissible to the Home when there is room.
APPLICATION FOR ADMISSION. In all cases, references and recommendations must be given, as a safeguard against unworthy admissions. Experience of the past admonishes us to the exercise of this wise expediency.
FOR TEMPORARY CARE. For the admission of children for temporary support and care in the Home, one hundred dollars ($100.00) per annum, payable quarterly, in advance, secures this privilege, where our rules for "eligible children" and "application for admission" can be complied with. This furnishes board, clothing and schooling.
April 1st, 1891. Mr. and Mrs.
Spurlock took charge of the Home, yet previous to this time they
had been interested in planning for and working in its interests.
A detailed history is unnecessary, as any citizen of York is well
acquainted with the situation of the Home at the time they began
work, and how they have been the leaders in bringing the Home to
its present standard of excellency and beauty. In the face of
drouth years here in the west, of crop failures and other
hindrances the work has kept moving forward.
A visitor, after inspecting several philanthropic homes for children, declares that "The Mothers' Jewels' National Home, of York, is the most homelike in affection bestowed upon the children, and received from them, of any that has come under my notice."
"Superintendent Spurlock's unremitting care and labor, -- eagle eyed for all concerned -- yield rich fruitage of blessings. Mrs. Spurlocks' recuperated health enables her to preside in her habitual gracious manner."
MRS. B. SPURLOCK
MRS. J. P. NEGUS