Tuesday, December 10, 2019
Flapper Night Shows How Long the Hailey Public Library Has Been Around
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Lindi Lewallen has relished the special events prompted by a year-long celebration of the Hailey Public Library’s centenary.
 
Wednesday, July 17, 2019
 

STORY AND PHOTOS BY KAREN BOSSICK

In February a few dozen people dressed in flapper outfits and zoot suits ducked into The Mint.

As they did, they probably replicated a scene from nearly a hundred years ago. The difference: There was a white sheet cake on the table celebrating 100 years of the Hailey Public Library.

It’s hard to imagine many small towns in America’s West being able to boast about a library that’s a hundred years.

 
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Morgan Brunker researched a decade’s worth of cocktails to put on the evening at The Mint.
 

But the patrons of Hailey’s Public Library are in the middle of a year-long celebration in which they’re playing games of the 1920s, 1930s and other decades, listening to historians talk about Hailey’s origins  and reading books that were popular when the library opened its doors.

Those who took part in the Roaring ‘20s Speakeasy Nite Party had a chance to learn about some of the cocktails fashioned during that decade, much as others would later learn about the origins of such fast foods as SPAM at another event designed to celebrate the library’s centenary.

Morgan Bunkert gave a cocktail chemistry class as she mixed cocktails like The Big Chief, a breakfast cocktail concocted in honor of President William Howard Taft that contained orange zest, rye whiskey, orange juice and a slice of orange.

She recounted how Mary Pickford, a Prohibition Era cocktail made with white rum, pineapple juice and cherry liqueur, was created by the Hotel Nacional de Cuba in honor of the actress during a visit with Charlie Chaplin.

 
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The Lewallens—Lindi, Charlie, Dallas and Jeff—celebrate with John and Monroe Lacerte.
 

Julep, the official cocktail of the Kentucky Derby, got its name from the Arabic word “julab” for a Persian rosewater, said Brunker, and was served in a crystal glass representing the upper class. Kentucky Sen. Henry Clay introduced the bourbon-based drink flavored with mint to the Washington, D.C., crowd and it was often prescribed for those who were sick to their stomach.

Carol Brown, who volunteers as a Friend with the Hailey Public Library, took a deep sniff.

“It’s medicinal, really.”

The Sidecar, made with cognac, orange liqueur and lemon juice, was created by the Ritz Hotel in Paris in honor of an eccentric military man who was chauffeured around via a sidecar on a motorcycle, Bunker added.

 
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Alexis Lindberg and Jeff Stedman learned that it was fun to dress up and pretend they were someone different than they are.
 

“That’s the one!” exclaimed Martha Burke. “That alone is worth the trip here through the snow.  Supporting the library by drinking cocktails—ohmigosh!”

Attendees enjoyed the chance to dress up in the art deco look with beading, headbands and fringes.

“It’s fun,” said Alexis Lindberg, who was there with Jeff Stedman. “Dressed up like this you can pretend you’re someone other than yourself.”

Of course, the blast from the past put the focus on the Hailey Public Library and its long history that predated anyone in the room.

 
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Sara Baldwin, Caitlyn Mills, LeAnn Gelskey and Brad Gelskey reveled in the evening.
 

“I just felt like celebrating the library,” said Brown, who first became acquainted with the library in 1990. “The book discussions they have when librarians are leading are the best. They put a lot of work into it and it makes you consider the books in ways you might not have.”

Brown was talked into joining the Friends of the Hailey Public Library by Stefanie Dash Marvel, who told her: “This is too valuable to let go.”

“Whenever I talk to people from other countries one of the things they mention is our libraries. Not all countries have free libraries.”

Marvel recounted how she went to a conference in 1987 to learn how to start an organization like the Friends to raise money for the library.

“I started by inviting my friends to join me,” she said. “It was much needed. The budget then was $9,000 for the entire year, and that included what we paid the librarian—Alba Arndt. Back then the library board had to debate whether to buy an encyclopedia or another book because it couldn’t afford both.”

 

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