Winchester Library History

Marge Engel provided the information for this history of the building that has served the Winchester community as school, library and activity center for almost 100 years. The building was constructed in 1910 by the Turtle Lake Lumber Company to provide a school for children in grades 1 through 8 and to serve as a center for meetings, elections, and other community functions.

School enrollment declined over the years from a high of 80 students taught by 3 teachers until the final bell in 1966. The remaining students were transported to other area schools until the consolidated North Lakeland Elementary School opened in 1971.

From 1966 to 1985 the building continued to be used for meetings, elections, and as a youth center. During this period, an addition was added as a garage for Winchester’s first ambulance. This room now houses children’s, juvenile and young adult books as well as our public access computers.

In 1985, the Winchester Women’s Civic Club learned that funds were available from Vilas County for a public library. The Club formed a committee to study the feasibility of converting the former school into a public library. After completing their study, the Club decided to sponsor the library.

The Winchester Town Chairman appointed a Board of Trustees for the library, and Mike Cross from the Northern Waters Library Service helped plan and organize the project. Winchester Women’s Civic Club members spent many hours cleaning, sorting, and cataloging.

In 1985, the Winchester Public Library was dedicated. A photographic history of Winchester, including the library, was compiled for the Town of Winchester Centennial in 2005 and is on display in the library.

While primarily used as a library, the building continues to be used regularly by the Winchester Women’s Civic Club, Friends of the Library Quilters Group, Pine Tones Chorus, and other community organizations and clubs. It is truly the Winchester Community Center.