The digital collection of materials from the Eager Free Public Library History Room includes Rock County, Wisconsin plat books from 1891, 1904, and 1917. Evansville was settled in 1839 and became an important stop on the Chicago & Northwestern Railway system. The digital collection includes histories and memories that give accounts of settlement and Evansville’s growth and prosperity. City Directories and photo collections of portraits, homes, and businesses are also included in the project.
Two unique organizations operated in Evansville in the late 1800s and early 1900s. The Evansville Seminary, a high school and later a junior college, first operated by the Methodist Church and later by the Free Methodist Church, was a training institution for 100s of students. The catalogs and school annuals are a glimpse into the history of the educational institution. Another organization, the Hall family circus, was started in the 1860s by George Washington “Popcorn” Hall and continued into the 1940s by four generations of the Hall family. The digital collection includes circus posters and photographs.
The Arrowhead Digitization of Rock County History Resources will provide electronic access to materials that are today only available in print format and to people who cannot go to the Milton Historical Society, Edgerton Public Library and the Eager Free Public Library. Each of these locations provides unique collections of records of the Milton House, a hotel that also served in the Underground Railroad; the Edgerton Public Library with unique resources documenting the history of Edgerton; and a continuation of a digitization project started in 2009 with materials from the history room of the Eager Free Public Library in Evansville. Each of these communities has a rich history in agriculture, industry, commerce and education. The project is endorsed by the boards of the Eager Free Public Library, the Edgerton Public Library and the Milton Historical Society.
The Evansville, Wisconsin Digitization Project is collaborative project completed by the UWDCC and the Arrowhead Library System. The Evansville, Wisconsin Digitization Project was funded, in part, through grants from the Library Services and Technology Act (LSTA) in 2009 and 2010. These grants provide financial support for public libraries to digitize and make available online, their local library resources. For more information about LSTA grants in Wisconsin, contact the Wisconsin Department of Public Instruction (DPI) Division for Libraries and Technology or visit the LSTA grant Web site at https://dpi.wi.gov/pld/lsta.
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