History of the Herbert Wescoat Memorial Library
In April of 1933, the McArthur, Ohio P.T.A. brought to the attention of the public the need for a public library or reading room for the children of McArthur. An interesting and animated discussion followed and it was decided to investigate the need further. By February of 1934, definite action was taken to start forming a public library in McArthur. In conjunction with the McArthur P.T.A., appeals were made to solicit donations of books and money for a reading room. Working with the school district superintendent, books were sent to the schoolhouse where they were checked and held until the opening of the reading room.
At this time, a new Memorial Building was nearing completion in McArthur. It was learned that Mr. Dan Will had originally donated the land for the purpose of a public library. Working together, the Civic Club and the P.T.A. Committee were able to secure a room in the new Memorial Building for the use as the new McArthur Public Library.
In July of 1934, a little over a year after the idea was proposed, the McArthur Public Library officially began to serve patrons from a room in the new Memorial Building in McArthur, Ohio.
It was only one year later, in July of 1935, the scope of the McArthur Public Library was broadened to reach the entire county and the Vinton County Public Library was created.
It's All in a Name
Charles B. Wescoat was born in Vinton County, Ohio on October 5, 1876. He spent the early part of his life in Vinton County, attended school at Otterbein College in Westerville, Ohio, and then served in the Spanish-American War.
On July 22, 1899 he was united in marriage with Miss Edna Tedrow. To this union, one son, Herbert, was born. Soon after, the family moved to McArthur where Mr. Wescoat became employed first at the Beckley Clothing Store and later as a partner with W. E. Jacobs in the grocery business.
In 1920, Mr. Wescoat's life was saddened by the untimely death of his beloved wife. He disposed of his home and business in McArthur, and went to Annapolis, Maryland to be closer to his son, Herbert. At that time, Herbert was a midshipman at the United States Naval Academy. (Mr. Wescoat found employment at the Midshipman's Pay Office of the Naval Academy and retained this position until his retirement in 1950.)
On April 4, 1933, Mr. Wescoat's life was further saddened by the death of his son, Herbert, who, as an aerographer for the United States Navy, was killed on the ill-fated U.S.S. Akron when it went down at sea.
In October of 1950, Mr. Wescoat returned to McArthur and spent his remaining days in the community where he was born. In remembrance of his wife and son, Mr. Wescoat made available the funds to further establish the public library in Vinton County. As stipulated by Mr. Wescoat, his estate would go to the library if the named was changed to the Herbert Wescoat Memorial Library.
Mr. Charles Wescoat died on April 10, 1952.
Today and Beyond
The Herbert Wescoat Memorial Library has seen many changes over the years. On August 3, 1962, the library celebrated its “Grand Opening” of a new site at 122 West Main Street, McArthur, Ohio when it moved into the building vacated by the McArthur Post Office. It remained in the "storefront" location for almost 30 years.
The library relocated one more time when it moved into a completely new facility on June 28, 1992, where it remains today. Funded in part by state and local tax dollars, the Herbert Wescoat Memorial Library maintains its goal to provide library service to the residents of Vinton County.