written by Joe Ganger, 17 Nov 2000
In 1906 a movement was started to build a library in Auburn, Indiana. An appeal was sent to Andrew Carnegie and in 1909 he committed $12,500 to build a building. Charles Eckhart, owner of the Eckhart Buggy Co. and a magnate in the automobile company in Auburn offered to build a library if the Carnegie contract was cancelled. Mr. Eckhart eventually spent over $40,000 on the building dictating what it would look like. Using the Linton library as a model, the building was completed in 1911.
Here in Colon there was a fire in 1912 that destroyed the "Lakeview Hotel" at the present library location. That location was perfect for using a bequeathed gift from Oliver and Mary Culver for erection of a library building. Mary died in 1912 and Oliver in 1913. The Culvers owned a large fruit farm and nursery east of town. The township bought the land for $3,000.
The will of Oliver Culver stipulated that the library should have two stories and a basement. It also requested that the building conform as closely as possible to the Edwin R. Clarke library building in Coldwater or the Eckhart library in Auburn.
Township Supervisor Wagner, Clerk Karchner and Justices Shane and Snyder of the Colon town board along with O. C. Tomlinson and J. Elliott Mosher made a trip to Auburn to inspect the library there. Assume they also went to visit the Library in Coldwater.
As a result of their choosing, C. A. Fairchilds & Son, a Kalamazoo Architect was hired to design the library. It's exterior is very close to that of the Eckert library. Thanks to a gift from the Colon Lioness Club, a historical marker was erected in 1986.
I spoke with a woman at the Linton library and she thinks that there are around 15 library buildings very similar to theirs. Certainly Colon is one of them!
Special 'thanks' to Joe Ganger who generously submitted this historical review for inclusion on the St Joseph Co., MI USGenWeb website