Silverhill Library History


     The building that is now Silverhill's Oscar Johnson Memorial Library was once the real estate office for the central Baldwin area. The second structure built in Silverhill, completed June 1898, funded by the Svea Land Company, was called the “Land Company Office”. Oscar Johnson owned the building, using it as his real estate office for the sale of land to the families moving into the area.

Shown here soon after
its completion in 1898,
the second structure
built in Silverhill was
used as a school,
real estate office,
church, and now a library.
- Click photo to enlarge.

     From its very beginning the building was partitioned and used as the Silverhill School, but because of the fast growth of the Silverhill community, the 1903-1904 school year was the last time the large group of Swedish children could fit into the building. The school term of 1904-1905, while a schoolhouse was under construction, was held in the Baptist Church. A new two-story school was ready for the children October 1, 1905. This photograph was featured on the front cover of the March 1902 issue of Silverhill Nyheter, the Silverhill Newsletter printed in Swedish. Twenty-three school children are shown standing outside of their school with their teacher.
Click photo to enlarge.

     On Sundays, the office was used for church services for the various Swedish denominations until they could each build their own sanctuaries.

This photograph taken about 1899, shows the members of one of the Swedish church congregations after their worship service.
Click photo to enlarge.

     In 1906, Miss Mildred Hall, a teacher at the Silverhill School, organized the Non Pariel Club that sponsored the town library. The books they gathered for the public to borrow where kept on shelves in the tower room of the two-story Silverhill School building. The book collection remained at the school until the 1920s, when they were moved to the Oscar Johnson Land Company Office, the present-day library. The ladies of the Non Pariel Club, a social club for young ladies in Silverhill, who will be remembered for organizing the Silverhill Library. Missing from the photo seems to be its founder, Miss Mildred Hall. - Click photo to enlarge.

Sketch of the Oscar Johnson Memorial Library by Tom Sangster in 1988.

These photos of the Library were taken in the mid 1970s.

Silverhill Library Website

Associated Press Story of Elsie Chandler

The Independent Article
on the Library

The Independent Article
on the Library Wing Dedication