The Door County Bookmobile was a door to another world for Door County children and adults for generations. Now the Egg Harbor Historical Society (EHHS) is rescuing the bookmobile to breathe new life into this piece of local history as a vessel to help tell our community’s stories.
Since being retired in 1989, the bookmobile has sat on the property of local historian John Enigl, gathering dust and rust. Recently, the EHHS bought the bookmobile along with a library of other historical books and documents from Mr. Enigl. On Nov. 18, the bookmobile was towed to Carlsville Engineering, where Joe Kroll will begin restoring it to be used as a mobile history storyteller.
“While people may not need to have books brought to them anymore, this is an important part of Door county History that we know people will respond to,” said Egg Harbor Historical Society President, Jim Petersen. “Like a historic building, the bookmobile represents something more than just a traveling library. Before the Internet, it was our connection to other worlds and lives. It’s a symbol of our community’s commitment to education. And perhaps most importantly, a symbol of ingenuity, as people in an isolated rural community found ways overcome the limits of geography.”
For 40 years the Door County Bookmobile delivered books to children at schools and villages throughout the peninsula. Where there was a cluster of homes with kids, the Bookmobile stopped – Ctys T and I, the parking lot of the Carlsville Bar, the Hainesville School, and dozens of other rural locales.
“We didn’t have an ice cream truck that went through town, but it was exciting when this truck pulled into the neighborhood!” said Pauline Leist.
It wasn’t just a book resource, but a community meeting place that brought people together.
“It stopped at ‘the corner’ in West Jacksonport between the bar and the old store,” recalled Lisa Bieri. “We would sit on the steps of the old store the whole two hours it was there to be sure we saw everyone who came and went.”
Once restoration is complete, the historical society plans to turn it into a mobile history display, as well as a place to collect more oral histories from residents.
To learn more about the Bookmobile Fund Drive, visit the historical society’s new website at http://www.EggHarborwi.com. To find out how you can help, or to donate to the effort, email [email protected].