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Getting wheels turning on piece of history: Door Co. Bookmobile restoration underway

Posted at 4:25 PM, Sep 14, 2023
and last updated 2023-09-14 17:25:27-04
  • Video shows the Door County Bookmobile and where it is at in its restoration journey.
  • Members of the Egg Harbor Historical Society have been working on this renovation for more than a year.
  • They plan to have it completed by next June and be giving out books to children ages five, six, and seven by the fall.

(The following is a transcription of the full broadcast story)

A piece of history is returning to neighborhoods near you. I'm your Door County neighborhood reporter Katlyn Holt and members of the Egg Harbor Historical Society have spent more than a year returning the Door County Library Bookmobile to its glory.

"This was a piece of my own history, something we looked forward to as kids," said Bertschinger.

Carey Bertschinger and John Sawyer have been friends since elementary school.

"This was a project that we both said, boy, what a great thing to do," said Sawyer.

When the Bookmobile project came along, they both knew they had to be a part of the restoration.

"Everybody in that age of 50s, 60s and 70s you know, this was, their internet to the world … this was where they got their books," said Sawyer.

During the past year, the bookmobile has been re-painted, new glass has been ordered and they are working to get a new engine and chassis installed this winter.

Sawyer said the Bookmobile was started in the 1950s and this specific Bookmobile was bought in 1964 and serviced the whole county.

"You'd go out to the Bookmobile and pick out your books because all the small rural schools did not have libraries so this was our access to books," Sawyer said.

They plan to buy the Bookmobile from the Egg Harbor Historical Society and form a 501(c)(3) called the "Door County Bookmobile Inc."

The Bookmobile should be in operation by next June and they plan to put books into the hands of children ages 5, 6, and 7 by next fall.

"Our three pillars, education, history and community we're combining all three just to try and get this out to the community fairly and on time," said Bertschinger.

There has been $180,000 raised towards their restoration so far from community efforts and private donations.

Sawyer says they hope to reach $500,000 which will make sure the bookmobile is fully restored and the money will help them for the next three years.

"This has gotten to be quite a project but very worthwhile project," said Bertschinger.

If you would like to donate to the restoration efforts, click here.