Ross & Elizabeth Baty Monticello Public Library - built June 2006
Ross H. Baty was born in What Cheer, Iowa, on October 18, 1901, the third of four children of John and Mary (Rust) Baty. John was in real estate and served as county sher riff. Ross attended Sigourney schools. He worked in railroad and lumbering jobs in the West before moving to Chicago to work.
Elizabeth Wehrley was born July 6, 1908, in the village of Beecher, Illinois. Her father John, a pharmacist, had immigrated to America from Germany in 1880 when he was five years old. He and Elizabeth's mother, Helen (Beutler), operated a drug store. Elizabeth graduated from Purdue University in 1930. She majored in dietetics, and was a pianist for the men's glee club. She was a dietitian at Rush Presbyterian Hospital in Chicago when she met Ross.
Before they married in 1935, Ross established himself in business in Monticello with a grocery store on the corner of West First and Farley Streets. He, with the help of Elizabeth, later operated several small businesses on First Street- a bowling alley, a restaurant and, finally, and insurance agency. IN 1942, they had a son, John, who graduated from Monticello schools.
Ross was active in several city organizations including Rotary, Masons, and the Great Jones County Fair. For many years, he was the secretary/ manager of the fair, and then the president of the Fair Board.
Elizabeth was active in church and local organizations. She served on the Library Board. She could recite many classic German and English poems. Elizabeth and Ross were avid readers and library patrons.
Business success allowed them to contribute to several worthy causes. These include the University of Iowa for medical research, the United Church of Monticello, the City of Monticello for the band shelter at the swimming pool park, and the library buildings.
Ross died in 1980 and Elizabeth in 2003. They are buried at Monticello's Oakwood cemetery. They are survived by their son John, his wife Jane, and grandchildren John Wm. and Mary.
The original Monticello Public Library building was built in 1902-03, with funds provided by Andrew Carnegie. The library was located at 116 E. Grand St. Due to space constraints and ADA accessibility issues, the decision was made to construct a new facility. Construction began on the Ross & Elizabeth Baty Monticello Public Library in 2005 and it opened to the public in June 2006. Local students helped moved the children's collection by carrying books in their back packs and walking the 1 block to the new building.
Ross and Elizabeth Baty