Library celebrates 100 years

Published 8:53 am Thursday, July 15, 2010

The Cass District Library Local History Branch will celebrate 100 years this year. (Argus photo submitted)

The Cass District Library Local History Branch will celebrate 100 years this year. (Argus photo submitted)

Built in 1908 with a grant from Andrew Carnegie and matching funds from local businesses, the LaGrange Township Library became the Local History Branch of the Cass District Library in 1993, the result of a merger that created the Cass District Library System.

Carnegie gave money to build thousands of libraries all over the United States as well as overseas. The library cost Carnegie $10,000 when it was originally built in 1909.

The library carries information dating back into the late 1800s including old local newspapers like the Cassopolis Vigilant and Edwardsburg Argus.

To celebrate the building’s 100th birthday and to highlight the valuable historical materials it houses, the Cass District Library will host an open house at the Local History Branch, located at 145 North Broadway in Cassopolis on Saturday from 1 to 3 p.m.

Many items from the Library’s Underground Railroad and Diamond Lake files will be on display and library employees will be on hand to explain the many resources available for genealogists and historical researchers.

The history library specializes in genealogy and research and still keeps the obituary file in an old fashioned card catalog.

Staff and board members will also be available for questions concerning the building’s history and restoration initiatives currently in progress.

The restoration included a nine-month project by Barry Young to restore the magnificent old oak front doors.

Please stop in Saturday from 1 to 3 p.m. and join the Cass District Library board and staff in celebrating Andrew Carnegie’s gift to LaGrange Township, a gift that now houses collections valuable to historians and genealogists nationwide.

In the meantime, call or visit Local History Branch manager Jonathan Wuepper for research assistance.

He may be reached at (269) 445-0412, Monday through Thursday from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. and Fridays by appointment.

The branch is also open under the direction of Sherry Hilden and Sue Seedorf on Saturdays from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m.