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History of the Old Library Building
Annandale's Library, 1923-2003


                                                                                        drawing by Dean Cheney

The Improvement Club has printed and sold two cookbooks to raise funds to support the library.  Kitchen Secrets, or "the yellow Improvement Club Cookbook" as it is referred to by many, was first sold in 1976. Its sequel, "the green Improvement Club Cookbook," Kitchen Secrets II, came out in 1991.  The cookbooks are still available for purchase at the library, and both books include the following description of the history of the old library building. 

Our present [sic] library building began as South Side School District 130 before the turn of the century.  In 1910 School Districts 71, 72 and 130 voted for consolidation and buildings of Annandale District 71 were used for classes.

The following year agriculture and domestic science were added to the school curriculum.   More space was needed so District 130 school building was drawn across the ice of Pleasant Lake, to the site it now occupies, to be used for the new classes.

The Annandale community was then reading John Fox's The Trail of the Lonesome Pice and Ellen Glasgow's The Wheel of Life.  Model T Ford cars were selling for $780 "equipped."

Enrollment mushroomed and in 1923 a combined elementary and high school was built.  That left our sturdy brick building available for other community uses.

One room has since served as a community library.  Part of the building served as village offices.  The basement once housed the jail.  The building was a rest stop for weary travelers.  At one point an apartment was built for the janitor and his wife who took care of the building.  All these functions have moved on to other quarters with the exception of the library.

The library is now affiliated with the Great River Regional Library.  Partitions have been moved, the walls are resplendent with fresh paint and books are being arranged on new shelving.  The improved arrangement has almost doubled the usable Library space.  The facility is a comfortable spot for Improvement Club meetings.

The building still echoes the memory of J. F. Lee who taught in the original school and later became a state representative and superintendent of schools in Annandale, Miss Clara Shabacker who taught domestic science, and all the other people from the past who have journeyed through these rooms.

The Old Library Building was vacated June 7, 2003, when the books and materials were moved into the new library building.  The old building was used by an art gallery, The Snooty Fox, 2004-2012, then re-opened in 2014 as Cafe Jules.






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