Enjoy Our Building
Photos above courtesy of WayNet.org.
The Carl D. Orsborn Board Room is available for groups to use at no cost. The room comfortably seats 12 around a conference table and can hold up to 24 total. A refrigerator, sink, and microwave are all available. We also have a Smart TV for video conferencing, webinars, and more. The room is available any time the library is open and may be available outside of library hours by special arrangement. Larger events such as receptions may be held in the large rooms of the library where the books are shelved. A projector, laptop, and screen are also available for groups to use.
Call the library at (765)855-5223 to inquire about meeting room availability.
The history of the Centerville-Center Township Public Library is tied intimately with Centerville's desire to be the county seat of Wayne County. Wayne County was established in 1810. The events that made up the tug-of-war over the permanent location of the county seat became known as the Court House Wars.
In 1811, Salisbury was chosen to be the county seat of Wayne County. It was chosen for its central location between Richmond and Centerville. In 1814, Centerville made an attempt to move the county seat from Salisbury, but it was not until 1817 that the issue was resolved by an Act of the Indiana Legislature. By this time a great and growing animosity between the citizens of Salisbury and Centerville had arisen.
In 1821, a courthouse and jail were built in Centerville. In the few years that followed, Centerville citizens asked for a secure place to house prisoners. A certain element of Centerville society sought to secure Centerville permanently as the county seat of Wayne County. To this end they raised $80,000 to build a palatial home with a 20-cell jail attached. An ornate iron fence at an additional cost of $10,000 surrounded the jail and other courthouse square buildings. The jail was completed in 1867.
March 8, 1873. The county seat was moved to Richmond after Centerville's petitions to remain Wayne County's center of government fell on deaf ears. Losing the status of being the county seat and all the financial, cultural, educational and legal advantages that came with it set off another battle of the Court House Wars.
August 14, 1873. Court papers which had been stored in the jail were removed from Centerville to Richmond.
November 14, 1873. The jail at the back of the house and the iron fence were removed to Richmond. Centerville citizens fired cannon balls at their own jail and the workers. Two holes above the Main Street door were made by a six-pound canon positioned in the archway across the street. Other small firearm shells were also shot from the archway. During this time the National Guard was called to monitor the situation for several days.
Finally, the Board of County Commissioners declared that the entire Courthouse Square consisted of useless buildings that were producing no revenue. Furthermore they said they were fire hazards. The future library building was sold for $1250.00 to Simon and Flora McConaha. It changed hands many times until 1924 when the Trustees of Hiram Lodge #417 Free and Accepted Masons purchased the home. It was enlarged to the east under their ownership.
In 1997, the Library Board of Trustees purchased the building for the new home of the Centerville Center Township Public Library. A large addition was added on the west and north sides while preserving intact the south-facing front façade of the original jail. It was dedicated in December 1999.
The gazebo, built in 2005 by students at Centerville High School, is a fine place to read on a pleasant day. Many take advantage of the gazebo while accessing the library’s free Wi-Fi on their laptops. Wi-Fi access is available 24 hours a day without a password.
The grounds of the library are beautifully maintained by volunteers Ruth Bane and Mike Baumer. Enjoy the seasonal flowers and the statuary.
Over 60 works of art, all created by local artists, are owned by the Centerville Library. All have been donated over several decades. Additional donations of local art are very welcome.
A group painted by Elmira Kempton was willed to the library by Pearl Horner Milligan. The antique containers and flowers were from Pearl’s garden and antique collection. Elmira was art professor at Earlham College. Paintings by Elmira are: Rear Garden at Lantz House oil on canvas, Phlox oil on canvas, and Chrysanthemum Study oil on canvas.
Edna was born in Richmond, Indiana, and painted for Hills Roses. Watercolors were done in connection with patenting of the roses. Flowers & antique containers belonged to Pearl Mulligan. Paintings by Edna are Bleeding Hearts, Pansies with Fan, and Red Geraniums.
Cityscape of Centerville buildings. Signed lower edge ”l934”. Baker’s works are included in the permanent collection of the Art Association of Richmond and Earlham College.
A l923 graduate of Centerville High School, Bill won a scholarship at John Herron Art School. After graduation, he took a job as an art director for the Blackstone theatre in South Bend. His watercolor painting is Sand Bar, given to the library in 1979.
Cliff was a Library Board member, a writer, and artist. One of his paintings depicts the court house fight and the other shows Jody's Restaurant and the water tower. Cliff passed away in 2012 and bequeathed more of his paintings to the library.
Oil on canvas River and Trees.
Local artist. Paul Hamilton did the Skating Group and many more paintings. The Palette was made by a friend of the Hamiltons, and was given to the library by his wife Erpha after Paul’s death.
Painting of Roses. Mr. Brooks taught school in Centerville for many years.
A painting of the Lantz House. The painting is a gift of the Woman’s Club, Centerville, IN l970.
A painting of the McConaha House in Centerville. Alan was a resident of Centerville and the son of Mr. & Mrs. Paul Patrick. Alan and two other friends are now at the Bethel Pike Pottery in Muncie, Indiana.
A Winter Snow Scene. Cecelia taught English, Geometry, and Latin in the Centerville School System. Her husband was Superintendent of Schools.
Pitcher with Pears.