Langlade County Historical Museum
Backstory and Context
The Antigo Public Library and Antigo Library System: History
Attempts to establish some form of library system in Antigo, Wisconsin began as early as 1879; this attempt took the form of a small rental library run by a local shopkeeper. As the community grew in size, local interest in establishing an official library grew in tandem. Although the city met this demand and formally established a library system in 1900, this organization remained without a dedicated home for years and had to provide its services from local private properties and later the city hall. To remedy this situation, the city applied for a Carnegie grant of nearly $13,000 to construct a committed library building, and in 1903, the city’s application was accepted. Designed in the Georgian Revival style by architect Allan Conover, construction of the library began in 1904 at 404 Superior Street in Antigo, Wisconsin. Construction was complete by 1905, and in the same year, the Antigo library system began to provide its services to the people of Antigo from the brand-new Antigo Public Library.
During its time in the Antigo Public Library building, the Antigo library system was integral to the proliferation of library services throughout Langlade and other nearby counties. In 1961, the Antigo Public Library served as the headquarters for a “bookmobile” initiative that provided limited mobile library service to the Langlade, Oneida, Florence, Lincoln, Forest, and Vilas counties. Plans were discussed in 1962 to make the Antigo library system the head of a more formal cross-county library system, and later in the same year the Oneida County Board passed a resolution to enter into a joint agreement with the nearby Langlade, Florence, Forest, and Vilas counties to have the Antigo library system provide library services to the aforementioned counties for 1963. In 1997, the Antigo library system transferred from the Antigo Public Library into a new building located at 617 Clermont Street, Antigo, Wisconsin.
The Langlade County Historical Society: History
The Antigo Public Library also served as the home for the organization that would eventually take over the property in its entirety: the Langlade County Historical Society. The proceedings to create a historical society for Langlade County were well under way by 1921, but it was in 1929 that the Langlade County Historical Society was officially founded. By 1930, the LCHS was accepting donations of Langlade County-related historical artifacts, and the organization was actively involved in the planning and hosting of community events including picnics, public talks, and more. The LCHS was also active in the historical society community, sending representatives to participate in state historical conferences attended by various local historical societies throughout the state of Wisconsin.
In 1933, the Langlade County Historical Society moved its museum and meeting location into a room on the second floor of the Antigo Public Library, beginning the long association of the LCHS with the Antigo Public Library building and the accompanying Deleglise Cabin. When the Antigo Public Library moved into its new facility in 1997, the LCSH took over the building and repurposed the library into its current form: an expanded headquarters and museum for the Langlade County Historical Society that continues and expands upon the Society’s past activities.
The Deleglise Cabin
Aside from the Antigo Public Library building, the property at 404 Superior Street also includes another historic building: the Deleglise Cabin. Built in the late 1800s, this log cabin was the first home constructed in Antigo and was also the home of the city founder, Francis Deleglise. It is worth noting that the Cabin was not originally a part of the property where it now resides; in 1914, the Cabin was moved from its original location to its current place in light of local movements to save the Cabin from being torn down for a new building.
As a local historic building, the Deleglise Cabin helped attract additional visitors to the library and the Langlade County Historical Society; as early as 1959, the library hosted a museum in the Cabin sponsored by the LCHS. Still under the operation and supervision of the LCHS, the Delesglise Cabin remains an open attraction for the public to appreciate.
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Associated Press. "Institutions In Need Of Support." Wisconsin Daily Press (Chippewa Falls) April 25th 1921. Regular ed, 4-4.
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Department of the Interior - National Park Service. Wisconsin SP Antigo Public Library and Deleglise Cabin, National Archives Catalog. January 1st 2017. Accessed December 2nd 2019. https://catalog.archives.gov/id/106781462.
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McClelland, Harold E. "Antigo Preserves Its First Permanent Home." The Wisconsin State Journal (Madison) March 9th 1952. Regular ed, 2 sec, 1-1.
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ReferenceUSA. U.S. Businesses - Langlade County Historical Antigo, WI, ReferenceUSA. November 1st 2019. Accessed December 2nd 2019.
"Up and Down Wisconsin: News Nuggets From Here and There in the Badger State - Pioneer Mail Service." The Capital Times (Madison) August 2nd 1931. Home ed, 2-2.
Wisconsin Historical Society - Wisconsin Architecture and History Inventory. 404 SUPERIOR ST, Wisconsin Historical Society. January 1st 1999. Accessed December 2nd 2019. https://www.wisconsinhistory.org/Records/Property/HI22069.
"Wisconsin Views: Projects - Or Pipe Dreams." Manitowoc Herald-Times (Manitowoc) December 15th 1933. , 4-4.
Wikimedia Commons (https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:LangladeCountyHistoricalSocietysMuseumUS45.jpg)
Wikimedia Commons (https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Deleglise_Cabin.jpg)