Wilmette Rent by Fight Over Site
The Inter Ocean (Chicago, Illinois), 30 Jul 1903

Full Text

Wilmette, like Gaul of old, is divided into three parts, namely, the faction which favors the present site of the village hall for the $10,000 library offered the village by Andrew Carnegie, the faction which favors a site A. J. Howell of New York is willing to donate, and a third faction which desires that bonds be issued for the purchase of some site besides the two named. A vote on the question has failed to give a majority for any of the three propositions, and the residents are as much at sea as ever as to where the proposed structure will be erected. The vote on the three propositions resulted as follows.
For village hall site....235
For free site...............226
For new site...............134

Women were allowed to vote as well as men, and the result on the basis of their vote was:
For village hall site....131
For free site...............112
For new site................61

For village hall site....104
For free site...............114
For new site................73

Women Differ from Men in View
It thus appears, according to the returns, that the majority of the women favor the village hall site and the majority of the men the free site. Some of the members of the defeated factions are now saying that the women should not have been allowed to vote, that the vote of the legal voters only should be taken into consideration, and that the result is indecisive, since there was not a majority in favor of any of the three propositions. Those favoring the village hall site say undue influence was exerted to win votes for the free site.
"The members of the library board," said Richard W. Boddinghaus, the president, "are unanimously in favor of the village hall site. The Howell site is in an undesirable part of town and is surrounded by coal yards and wood sheds. It really amounts to a fight between the residents of the east and west sectins of the village. Those on the west side favor the free site because it will boom that section. If the vote had been as to whether the library should be located on the east or west side of the Chicago & Northwestern railroad tracks, the vote would have been four to one in favor of the east side.
"The members of the library board desired to get the unbiased opinion of the residents of the village. There should have been no electioneering, but those in favor of the free site made a house-to-house canvass of the town. Despite that there was a majority for the village hall site."

Tracks Mar Hall Site
Henry B. Gates, president of the village board, is opposed to the village hall site.
"There are six tracks within 100 feet of the village hall, and when trains are passing the village board has to stop its sessions until they pass. If the library board would only look ahead ten years it would see that it would be better to purchase a new site. When the village board was asked to donate the village hall site the members were five to one against it.
"The village is bonded almost up to the limit now, and the library board will have to pay for the site if it gets it. I doubt whether the village board would vote to sell it to the library board. If it came to a tie vote on the matter I am in doubt as to how I should vote. Those who favor the village hall site think that on account of its being near the railroad tracks and street-car lines the new structure would be so attractive and pretty that it would advertise the village."

Media Type:
Item Types:
Village, split into three factions, cannot agree on best position for new Carnegie Library. Women oppose men at the polls. Members of defeated parties now argue that none but men should have been allowed to vote--railroad tracks in the streets add to difficulty.

Date of Publication:
30 Jul 1903
Corporate Name(s):
Wilmette (Ill.)
Local identifier:
Language of Item:
Geographic Coverage:
  • Illinois, United States
    Latitude: 42.07225 Longitude: -87.72284
Copyright Statement:
Copyright status unknown. Responsibility for determining the copyright status and any use rests exclusively with the user.
Wilmette Public Library
WWW address
Agency street/mail address

1242 Wilmette Avenue
Wilmette, IL
U.S.A. Phone: 847-256-6930

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Wilmette Rent by Fight Over Site