Wednesday, September 19, 2012

Community invited to celebrate 100th birthday of Oshkosh Public Library lions

Sept. 19, 2012– The Oshkosh Public Library invites the community to join in a special month-long celebration – the 100th birthday of Sawyer and Harris, the bronze lions that flank the building’s historic Washington Avenue entrance.

It was Oct. 9, 1912 when the majestic bronze lions were publicly unveiled and dedicated. They were a gift to the library from Col. John Hicks, publisher of the Oshkosh Daily Northwestern and long-time member of the library board. Hicks commissioned the bronze lions from Italian sculptor Gaetano Trentanove.

“The lions are more than impressive pieces of statuary,” according to Jeff Gilderson-Duwe, Director of the Oshkosh Public Library. “They have become recognized symbols of the Oshkosh Public Library and the long-standing tradition of a strong library at the heart of the community.”

Sawyer and Harris, named in honor of the founding donors of the Oshkosh Public Library building, inspire warm memories among many who grew up in the Oshkosh community.

“Any time we open the historic Washington Avenue entrance for a special event, people relate their memories of entering the library ‘between the lions’ – a time when most of our collection and services were under the dome in the historic Waters Building,” says Janice Dibble, Head of Reference and Adult Services. “There is a great affection for the lions and the library they symbolize.”

To celebrate the lions’ 100th birthday, OPL has a lineup of public activities, all leading up to the Roaring 100th Celebration on Sat., Oct. 13, from
10 a.m. to 1 p.m. under the Dome. The event will include a rededication ceremony at 11:30 a.m.

Activities are already underway to get the public involved in the celebration:
Lion’s Pride Contest: Purchase a plaster lion to decorate and enter the contest. Prizes will be awarded and proceeds from the sales used for local history collections and projects.
100 Cubs Challenge: Be one of 100 children to wish Harris & Sawyer happy birthday on the library’s front steps! Decorate a paper lion mask (available at the library) and bring it to the Roaring 100th Celebration on Oct. 13.
Collectible postcards: Pick up a different lion postcard each week at the library. Postcard #1 is available this week.
Birthday greetings: Make a birthday card, send a postcard or tape a video birthday greeting.
Children’s activities: Check out storytimes and craft programs with a lion theme.

For specific dates and details of all lions’ birthday activities, come to the library or visit


Post a Comment

<< Home