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Our History

Bless the Four Leaf Clover Club

“Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed people can change the world. Indeed, it is the only thing that ever has.”   Margaret Mead

History of the Stanwood Library and Friends

In 1912, **Mrs. Jack Irvine, an early resident of Stanwood who had been living in Seattle, left $2,500 in her will to the community of Stanwood for the purchase of library books and library maintenance with the stipulation that land and a building for a library must first be provided. The following year, a ladies club, the Four-Leaf Clover Club, was organized with 19 members and made raising monies for land and a library building their special project. They launched a series of socials, bazaars, dinners, and other benefits to raise $500 to purchase the chosen site for a library building. When Mr. Irvine, who was living in Seattle, heard of their efforts, he promised another $2500 for books, etc., once the club reached its goal.

By 1917, the amount needed to purchase the land was in hand but the construction costs for a building were quoted at $10,000. It looked impossible to proceed with the library project. The offer of the Stillaquamish Band Hall to the library cause in 1919 gave the situation a new look. The “band boys” as they were called, offered to donate their building if it could be moved to the already purchased library property. Nels Lien had contributed the library site. The Four Leaf Clover Club raised another $500 to cover moving and remodeling costs. “Repairs and a driveway were required before Irvine Estate counsel would approve the arrangement,” says Mrs. Hazel Hall, who was then a club member. She recalled hours of hard labor, even to scrubbing the floor on her hands and knees, before the Band Hall passed inspection. For a number of years, the band continued to use the east part of the building, while the library, with its small collection of books, occupied the west half. A door arrangement near the center of the hall then separated the two areas. A roster of early library workers includes the names of well known early citizens as W.B. Davis, Ernest Rosser, Clyde Tolin, Peter Henning, Mrs. A.S. Howard, Mrs. George Bonser, Ed O'Melia, and C.J. Gunderson.

The building known as the Irvine Community Library was dedicated on January 22, 1922, with an estimated 1,000 books. The dedication day recorded a temperature of 9 degrees below zero. In 1946, the Irvine Community Library became part of the recently created Snohomish County Library System. Its name was then changed to Stanwood Community Library. In 1962, Island and Snohomish Counties joined forces to form what is now the Sno-Isle Regional Library System and began serving communities and rural areas in both counties.

The Four Leaf Clover Club still exists today. Its name has undergone a few changes over the years, but its mission to support the library has endured. It changed its name to the Stanwood Camano Library Guild and now is the Friends of the Library. Their dedication has never flagged.

** J. H. Irvine, “Jack” Irvine, known to his pioneer contemporaries, was born in Ireland in 1836. After a varied career in ranching, mining and logging, he came to Stanwood around 1874. By 1879 he opened a general merchandise store. He retired at the age of 59 in 1895. (Back to Top)

(Information taken from Stanwood News article from 1962, Writers NW Publication 1967, an article written by Alice Essex, and a history written by Icle Crow.)

"The Discovery of Mankind," Sculpture

The five-piece sculpture located at the library entrance, "The Discovery of Mankind," is the result of a gift to the Stanwood-Camano Friends of the Library. In 1999 Jill Maxim made the gift as a memorial to her husband, Rod. The Stanwood-Camano Friends of the Library decided to combine the Maxim gift with various memorial donations received over the years.

A committee was appointed by then Friends' President, Len Smith, to implement the sculpture project. Members were May Palmer, Icle Crow, Doris Henry, and Alanna Stone. A prospectus was sent to local and regional artists asking them to submit proposals. The project was awarded to Doug Granum of Southworth, Wash., a recognized expert in Northwest indigenous mythology.

Granum's retelling of the story of Raven's discovery of mankind is engraved on a slate bench. Three stone monoliths polished and/or engraved with petroglyphs native to this region accompany a large bronze clamshell. Raven peers into the shell and is in the act of starting back in consternation as he sees members of the human race for the first time. "The Discovery of Mankind" is intended as an invitation to explore art. Please feel free to wander through the sculpture and touch the pieces.

The Stanwood-Camano Friends of the Library thank the following businesses and individuals for their contributions:

  • The City of Stanwood
  • Roger Hill, Landscape Architect
  • Jerry Heichel, Cement Finisher
  • Stanwood Redi-Mix
  • Matt Koetje, Puget Sound Land Service Inc.
  • John Amber-Oliver
  • Anita Hill
  • Frank and Joan Pang
  • Norm Stone