SOCIETY PLANNED PUBLIC LIBRARY AND A SEMINARY

Thanks to Barbara Triphahn, the source of the article.

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SOCIETY PLANNED PUBLIC LIBRARY AND A SEMINARY

Site of Colony Obtained for Poor Farm After Long Controversy
Kalamazoo Gazette, Sunday Jan 24 1937

The Alphadelphia Association was not a local affair, but comprised several hundred members throughout the state. Headquarters were on the present site of the County Farm west of Galesburg…a spot selected for its beauty, natural advantages and its central location. The project was called the “domain,” where the members built a large tenement house called the “mansion.”

Permission was sought to dam the river at the site of the domain, but this was never granted either. A mill race was dug, however, and a sawmill and flour mill placed in operation. A general store was opened and a school and church operated. The members also had a printing office and issued papers.

The association planned to build a seminary and to establish a public library. The ifrst meeting of record on the domain was at the home of Harvey Keith, March 2, 1844. This session was adjourned from day to day during which time a constitution was drafted, applications for membership accepted and property inventoried and appraised.

The labor code provided that all members should work in common to produce wealth; that one-fourth of net income should be devoted to improvements and three-fourths to the payment of labor, whatever its form. Time records were kept by the treasurer. The net income proved to be small and the pro-rated wages correspondingly low. One store clerk was rated at nine shillings a week. But all held high hopes.

For four years, they labored faithfully. Then hope began to wane and the serpent entered the garden. Chiselers and shirkers appeared. A few absconded with unearned increment. The more farsighted began to withdraw, taking land for their stock, which several developed and became wealthy. After a few years more of struggle and discouragement, a final meeting was held to dissolve the association. Re-distribution of assets was promiscuous…some were gainers, others losers and many received little or nothing.

After years of controversy on the part of the board of supervisors, the present main building was erected at a cost of $2500 and was later enlarged to its present size.

That is perhaps the extent of the article, a double line at the bottom indicating the end.

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