October 25, 2018
When I opened my studio last November, I’d been working the idea for this series in my head for months, and I finally started to make it a reality in September.
I have lived in Nashville since I was 12. We came here from Battle Creek and had never lived anywhere this small before. The fact that the closest gas station to our house was 5 miles away was mind-blowing to my pre-teen mind. While I think I wasn’t very happy about it at the time, my parents made a pretty wise decision. And my life would sure be different if it weren’t for this town.
I met my husband here. Some of my closest friends, too. There may not have been as much to do here to keep a teenager entertained, but it sure cultivated some friendships. Instead of going out and getting into trouble, we stayed at each others’ houses constantly and had “bonus” moms and dads. I got opportunities and experiences that I’m sure I wouldn’t have had in a larger school. I had teachers who really cared about me and my classmates personally, who became invested in my life, and I continue to run into regularly. One lives right down the street from me. Out of all of my classmates that wished to get out of here as soon as we were old enough, many have settled down to have their own families here. I’m raising my son in the same home where I grew up. What was my parents’ dream house when we were kids, that my dad built with his own hands alongside some of our oldest family friends, is now my dream house. We had horses, cows, pigs, chickens, and also some punishments that led to looooooong summer days helping my dad in the garden.
Simply put, I REALLY love it here.
I was planning to make my studio the first entry to this series, BUT I’m still working on finishing up the inside first. So, it only made sense to start with my second favorite building in town. 😉
This is Putnam District Library:
The Italianate home was built by Charles Putnam in 1884/85. He and his wife, Agnes, had children, but none survived into adulthood. Since they no longer had anyone to leave their house to, they gifted the property and a $10,000 trust fund to Nashville to turn the home into a library. What I find most fascinating (and am very intrigued to know if they’re still there!), they also donated all 300 of their own books.
Me too, rock, me too. 😀
On September 1, 1923, the Nashville Women’s Literary Club opened the library.
The Children’s room was an addition made in 1988.
While the library has been included in a Weird Michigan book because it is reportedly haunted, the director says in 6 years, she’s never had anything creepy happen to her.
The paranormal stories are fueled by the creepy deaths that happened in the building. Mr. Putnam committed suicide there in 1918 after suffering from tuberculosis and their maid, Gertrude Beigh, shot herself in the upstairs in 1893.
Whether it is actually haunted or not, the upstairs has been turned into history rooms, which are opened up regularly for those interested. I loved the upstairs. The stained glass is gorgeous, and local history is so fascinating to me.
Portraits of Charles and Agnes hang near each other in the front room.
I chatted with the new director, Savannah Shilton, who has been working here since her senior year of high school in 2012.
“It’s difficult to describe all that I’ve experienced while working at the library, as I’ve learned so much. The library continually provides me with a place to get to know my community, with constant opportunities to grow, both professionally and personally. I’ve experienced more in this lovely building than I ever thought possible, and for each of those things, I’m grateful. To me, Putnam District Library is important to Nashville because it is capable of providing to each resident in our community equally. The library can serve everyone in some way and can be tailored to each person. For example, for one person by providing access to the internet, while another benefits searching through genealogical materials in the Local History Room. One of my favorite details is the stained glass featured throughout the south side of the building, which is said to have come from Belgium. I also enjoy the sun room, which I find to be a cozy reading area. The space is especially enjoyable on rare winter days when the sun is shining- it creates the perfect reading conditions (although I don’t get to enjoy it as much as I’d like).”
No matter what you need to find here, you’re guaranteed to see a friendly face…
…including mine! I just started working here a couple of days a week. 🙂
If you’d like to visit the library, the address is 327 N Main St. They currently serve the Castleton, Maple Grove, and Assyria townships, plus Maple Valley students, for free. They frequently have events, which they post regularly on their Facebook page.