Bill Fullers Shop

History of Ethel Everhard Memorial Library

"This Library is the fulfillment of a dream of the Study Club which was started in 1908" - Veda Dahlke

In 1908, the Westfield Study Club began borrowing books from a traveling library in Madison.  From 1908 until 1934 different traveling book collections and donations were kept at different Study Club members houses, including Julia Golliher's parlor at 303 South Main Street, and Dora Meinke's home at 306 South Main Street.

Then, in November of 1934, a committee from the Study Club, realizing the need for a public library, appeared before the Village Board requesting action be taken to establish a Public Library in Westfield.  The next month, on December 11, 1934, the Study Club reported to the Village Board that Mr. W.P. Fuller, had agreed to rent space in his book store for $5.00 a month, to be used as a Public Library.  The following year, 1935, the Village Board voted that, "the sum of $100.00 be given the Library Fund to pay rent, to purchase books and general supported of the Library."

For the next 15 years, Westfield's Public Library operated out of Fullers Book Store, which was heated in the winter with coal.  Ruth Hamilton, Clara Schwark, Belle Haney and others acted as librarians, without pay.  In 1945, Grace Kerst became the librarian, and she would faithfully serve the library for the next 30 years.

Around this time, in 1947, a woman named Ethel Everhard, originally from Westfield, was retiring from teaching art in Chicago.  Then, no one knew what an important role Ethel Everhard would play in the shaping of Westfield's Public Library.

Ethel Everhard's family moved to Westfield in the 1880's.  She and her sisters Mabel and Bess, all graduated from high school in Westfield in the late 1890's, and attended what was then called Stevens Point Normal, now the University of Wisconsin - Stevens Point.  Ethel later graduated from the Art Institute in Chicago and from the University of Chicago.  She loved art and taught at various schools including the Sheboygan Art Institute and Marshall High School in Chicago, and in 1947 she retired and moved back to Sheboygan.  Ethel died, in Sheboygan, on September 12, 1965, and the people of Westfield would soon find out that the bulk of her estate was to be distributed to the Westfield and Sheboygan Public Library.

At the time of Ethel Everhard's death, the Westfield Public Library was located in the back room of what is now the Westfield Village Hall.  The Library had moved there in 1961 from the old Village Hall, where it had been since 1949.  Over the years, an active Study Club and Library  Board had increased the book collection and the Library was over crowded in the Village Hall.  The money left to the Westfield Library from Ethel and Mabel Everhard's estates enabled the Westfield community to build a new, large, beautiful library facility in 1972.  The new library which was named after Ethel Everhard is still in use today.