Dixon Public Library’s roots began 150 years ago

DIXON – The Dixon Public Library Board of Trustees has declared 2022 as the Sesquicentennial Year of Dixon Hose Company No. 1′s library.

At its January meeting, the board passed a resolution honoring the establishment of Dixon’s first public library in 1872.

The Hose Co. No. 1 established a subscription library, and the cost of membership was $1 or one book per year. The Hose Company operated its library until 1896 when it donated around 2,600 books to the city, which was in the process of establishing the public library.

“The library board and staff are pleased to honor the work and gift of the members of the Hose Company No. 1,” said Antony Deter, library director.

Many of the basic books of biography, history, and travel still contain the old book plates from the Hose Company Library.

The library continued to grow and add a few books each year. Public libraries began to be supported by an annual tax levy, and members of the Hose Company approached Mayor C. H. Hughes and the City Council offering their library to the city on this basis.

On May 17, 1895, the council passed the ordinance establishing a city library to be known as the Dixon Public Library, and a year later, the Hose Company Library turned its collection of 2,600 volumes over to the first library board appointed by the mayor and the council.

Members of the first library board were men known across Dixon business, education and civic affairs: O.B. Dodge, J.C. Ayres, J.B. Charters, B.F. Shaw, G.H. Squires, J.B. Dille, William Jenkins, J.C. Jocelyn, and E.E. Wingert.

When the Dixon Hose Company was operating the library, it was located at 121 E. First St. where it remained until moving to its current location at 221 S. Hennepin Ave.

Rachel Rodgers

Rachel Rodgers

Rachel Rodgers joined Sauk Valley Media in 2016 covering local government in Dixon and Lee County.