November is here!

November is here! In the next few weeks, we will be cooking turkey and spending time together with our family and friends. November is a time to reflect on all of the things that we are thankful for and remember to count our blessings.

The library is thankful to be a part of a great community. Behind every great community is a great library. We look forward to seeing all of you. Remember when coming to visit, bring your library card and wear your mask.

Now for some library history. Have you ever stopped to look at the beautiful frieze panels at the library? A frieze panel is an architectural term that is used to describe a horizontal design panel on the exterior of a building.

“The frieze is above the architrave and below the cornice (in a position that could be quite difficult to view). The term also refers to any long, narrow, horizontal panel or band used for decorative purposes—e.g., on pottery, on the walls of a room, or on the exterior walls of buildings.” (

These panels are located along the top exterior edge of our entire building.

“In the fall of 1988, the library board commissioned a historic preservation plan which was prepared by Frye Gillan Molinaro. While researching the original architects, Claude and Starck, the librarian, discovered five other libraries with the identical exterior frieze panels.

The five other libraries are the T. B. Scott Library in Merrill, Wisconsin; the Barron Public Library in Barron, Wisconsin; the Tomah Public Library in Tomah, Wisconsin; the Detroit Lakes Public Library in Detroit Lakes, Minnesota and the Hoquiam Library in Hoquiam, Washington. Each of these “sister” libraries was contacted.

While talking to the Detroit Lakes Library in Minnesota, it was mentioned that they were also adding on to their original building and that they planned to use their frieze panel molds to continue the frieze into their new lobby. Detroit Lakes did not actually have molds, but had two extra ‘brand new’ panels.

Frye Gillan Molinaro arranged a loan of these panels so that a mold could be created from the original panels. This lucky discovery provided the molds for the new addition.”

This information was taken from articles written by Betty Neal, library records, board minutes, a Rochelle-Leader July 1955 article and the National Register of Historic Places application form.

The milkweed pods are at either side of the panel toward the top and look like a leaf.

Most of the round “balls” along the sides of the panels represent acorns — especially those in groups of four within the scroll work at the top and bottom of the central oval.

The curly elements found running along the sides of the panels are oak leaves and look like oak leaves in the fall that have begun to dry and curl.

The resurrection lily stem is at the center of the bottom of the panel. At the bottom of the center oval, you will see the three buds (petals) of the resurrection lily.

These panels are just one of the unique reasons why our library is a small piece of history in Rochelle.

Sarah Flanagan is the director of the Flagg-Rochelle Public Library.


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