history of the moniteau county library


Elia Wood was raised in the home built by her father Lashley F. Wood in 1876 at 102 South East Street, California, Missouri.  After completing her education, she joined her father's law firm as an attorney.

When teachers were needed in the Philippine Islands, Elia Wood, Pearl Gordon, Clara Gray (Allee), and Dolly Gray (Marshall) answered the call.  Elia Wood and Pearl Gordon asked to be sent to Ilagon where Miss Gordon's brother was stationed. Upon arriving at the islands, they were met by First Lieutenant John A. Paegelow, who transported them to Ilagon. 

Lieutenant Paegelow was born in Berlin, Germany in 1870.  He immigrated  to the United States after graduating from the Heidelberg University with a Civil Engineer degree and his mandatory one-year military service duty.  After working as a Civil Engineer in New York City, the depressed economy forced him to move to Chicago where he joined the Army as a private. 

After Paegelow recovered from injuries sustained at San Juan Hill, he was sent to the Philippine Islands, where he met Elia Wood.

On March 12, 1902, Elia Wood and John Paegelow were married.  This was the beginning of a long and adventurous life for a young lady from a small community in central Missouri.  After spending thirty-one years traveling the globe meeting dignitaries and peasants, the Paegelows' sixty-ninth move was back to her childhood home in California, Missouri.  

The Paegelows would have ten more years together in this small community.   After Colonel Paegelow's death on November 22, 1944, Elia remained in her family home until her death on December 15, 1954.  In her will Elia Wood Paegelow had left the bulk of her estate (approximately $50,000) to the First Christian Church, Disciples of Christ, to help establish a public library and recreation area for local youth.  The church willingly undertook this task for the next forty-four years.

Important Events:

  • June 10, 1955: Wood Place Library opened

  • 1995: California Progress, Inc. (CPI) purchased the building at the current location

  • 1996-1998: Repairs and renovations to the current building took place to prepare for the move

  • Spring 1998: Wood Place Public Library was formed and gained 501(c)3 status

  • September 1998: Wood Place Public Library opens at current location

  • Spring 2001: Second floor of library fully renovated

  • June 2004: Tax levy for City of California passes

  • September 2008: CPI turned over full ownership of the building to the Wood Place Public Library

  • October 2013: Building, furnishings, and collection donated to the Moniteau County Library Board

  • January 1, 2014: Officially became Moniteau County Library @ Wood Place

  • June 2014: Through a partnership with CMCA and Moniteau County Head Start, the Early Literacy Center was opened and ready for community use

  • February 2017: A Judge ruled that the Moniteau County Library District had been created improperly and dissolved the district

  • March 1, 2017: Moniteau County Library closed its doors

  • May 22, 2017: Moniteau County Library reopened for 20 hours a week as Wood Place Library

  • November 7, 2017: Moniteau County residents (minus the city of Tipton) approved to create a county wide Library District and a tax levy

  • January 1, 2018: Moniteau County Library District took over operation of the library

For more information on the library and its programs, or to make a tax-deductible donation, please contact the librarian during business hours. Phone: 573-796-2642 or e-mail: librarian@moniteaucountylibrary.org.