History of the Library

     Eli A. HesseltineJudge Eli A. Hesseltine, a lover of books, began loaning his books without fee in 1901. He then gave over a hundred volumes from his own collection and opened a library in his law office in the basement of the old State Bank of Wilbur building.  His stenographer acted as librarian.

     Judge Hesseltine later secured funds for the library by public subscription and acted as librarian until his death in 1915.  Following his death the library was moved to the old city hall and fire station (which was located across the highway from Sharp's Grocery, which is now Tom's Boat Shop).  It was enlarged by his widow and the generosity of Mr. and Mrs. F. L. Farnsworth, Rollin J. Reeves, and other public spirited citizens.  The town appropriated $200 a year, and Mrs. Carrie Hesseltine became the librarian.

     The library continued to function in the old city hall until l956.  Wilbur taxpayers had been paying toward a new city hall for about ten years.  The Civic Improvement Club had been coordinating their plans wih the city, as their major project for several years had been the raising of funds for a new library to be part of any city hall plans.  The generosity of Adolph Jarchow, by willing money to the town and to the Civic Club, made is possible to build the new city hall and the new library facilities, which continue to this day.


  • 1901-1915--Judge E. A. Hesseltine
  • 1915-1918--Mrs. Carrie Hesseltine
  • 1918-1925--Miss Edna Forey
  • 1925-1945--Mrs. Nina Reeves
  • 1945-l946--Mrs. Helen Arbogast
  • 1946-1948--Mrs. Vera Sliter
  • 1948-1950--Mrs. Frank Bennett
  • 1950-1952-Mrs. Tressie Bauer
  • 1952-1955--Mrs. Jean Rettkowski
  • 1955-1958--Mrs. Betty Miller
  • 1958-1965--Mrs. Freda Fisher
  • 1965-1999--Mrs. Jean Rettkowski
  • 1999-2019--Mrs. Cathy Miller
  • 2020- 2021--Mrs. Terri Bohnet
Made possible with funding from the Institute of Museum and Library Services through the Washington State Library, Office of the Secretary of State.