Jackson County

Pascagoula’s newest Little Library rooted by Legend of Singing River

Bud Ehlert show a replica he built of the Anola Club, a long-established Pascagoula women’s club, rest atop a Little Free Library on the clubhouse property.
Bud Ehlert show a replica he built of the Anola Club, a long-established Pascagoula women’s club, rest atop a Little Free Library on the clubhouse property. klnelson@sunherald.com

The Anola Club has a long history of service in Pascagoula, and it’s adding to that with a Little Free Library on its grounds.

Bud Ehlert built a replica of the club’s historic clubhouse on Washington Avenue, which has functioned as a school, a fire station and even a social-gathering spot during World War II.

The replica rests atop a three-shelf Little Free Library, a book-lending program the city has adopted. This one will join a dozen others around town.

The Anola Club, a women’s club, was established in 1943. It’s named after Anola, the Native American woman from the Legend of the Singing River.

The legend goes that a woman from the Pascagoula tribe fell in love with a man from the Biloxi tribe but the union was forbidden. The Pascagoulas chose to drown in the river with the lovers rather than fight the more-aggressive Biloxis. They went under water singing, which is why the Pascagoula River is said to sing and is often called the Singing River.

The club became interested in the library project because the Little Free Library, a nonprofit organization with more than 36,000 locations in all 50 states, fosters both a love of reading and a sense of community, club member Betty Green St. Amant said.

The program allows children and adults to select a book to read, enjoy and return. Anyone may donate a new or gently used book into the box as well, St. Amant said.

Ehlert, a retired Pascagoula radiologist, volunteered to design and build the clubhouse-replica Little Library. It will be dedicated and opened for business Friday, with a reception following at 1111 Washington Avenue.

The Anola Club’s primary service project has for yearsbeen to raise $5,000 to $8,000 a year for scholarships for high school seniors in Pascagoula and Gautier.

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