Daily Archives: February 19, 2013

The dramatic tale of Bainbridge’s first little library


I had fun over the weekend reporting on the opening of the MO Creek Little Free Library. The Mandus Olson book exchange is the island’s newest Little Free Library installation, but not its first. That distinction belongs to the Shepard Path Little Free Library (pictured).

Islander Donna Dahlquist started the project after seeing a program on Little Free Libraries on the nightly news last summer.

“I saw it and the next day I was on it,” she said.

She and her neighbors installed Little Free Library No. 892 along the popular walking trail west of Winslow last June. It was a colorful contraption. Dahlquist painted the box yellow and decorated it with keys. She shingled the roof with tin can lids and mounted the library on a post studded with bottle caps.

A few weeks later the little library burned to the ground. Dahlquist suspected an arson. The fire happened a few days before the Fourth of July, so fireworks may have been involved.

LFLcutoutThe fire burned through the roof of the library, melting the tin. The fire department was called and firefighters prevented the blaze from spreading into the dry grass and trees along the trail.

After the fire, Dahlquist wrote an email to Little Free Library founder Todd Bol, relating the tragic story of her library and asking if similar vandalism was common. Bol responded by shipping Dahlquist a brand new library box to install. It’s not as flashy as the first, but Shepard Path Little Free Library No. 1125 has become a popular stop for walkers and neighbors. A string of solar powered Christmas lights illuminate the box at night. The book collection changes constantly.

“It gets a lot of action,” Dahlquist said.

Dahlquist plans to add a “children’s library” soon. The tot-sized library will be housed in an old New York Times newspaper box, donated by friends in the Mandus Olson neighborhood.

Dahlquist said she’s happy to see more Little Free Libraries sprouting up. (You can see a world map of Little Free Libraries below).

“It’s been a lot of fun,” Dahlquist said. “Even the arson hasn’t diminished the enjoyment we’ve gotten from it.”

View Little Free Library Index > Scroll Down in a larger map

(Photos by Tad Sooter)

Island Road History | Rodal Court

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Street of the Week: Rodal Court

Location: A tiny residential street running west off Sunrise Drive, north of Valley Road

History: Lucas Rodal delievered groceries with a wheelbarrow. It was just one of the many services the native Norwegian did for his adopted home. In the decades to come, his large family would continue the tradition of community involvement. Rodels have been active with, among other organizations, Rolling Bay Presbyterian Church, which sits on land formerly owned by the family.

This occasional Islander series explores the history of island street names, as compiled by Elinor Ringland and fellow Bainbridge Island Historical Society volunteers.  If you have an island road story to share, email Ringland at elinorjoe@msn.com.