The Round Top Family Library opened its doors in 2000 and is situated on a site of approximately 4 acres. Round Top Library Association LLC owns the land and all buildings on it, debt free.
The Rummel Haus
The historic Rummel Haus was built in 1872. It has been lovingly restored and refurbished to serve as an activity center and a meeting place. It is used for Library Board Meetings, book clubs, poetry clubs, and children’s activities. It is also available to non-profits and local community organizations for meetings and gatherings and for private, non-commercial events.
Please call the Library for more information about renting the Rummel Haus.
The first floor of the Rummel Haus has:
- A meeting room with tables and chairs for approximately 20 people
- A cozy reading room with comfortable reading chairs and a small table and chairs
- A full kitchen with appliances and plenty of counter space
The second floor is a classroom setting with a large table and chairs for 8-10 people.
We have two accounts that give us insight into the history of the Rummel Haus, and there are no doubt more that will surface as time goes by. The following is a blending of this information in attempt to share what we have learned about this quaint and stately cottage.
When the town of Round Top was incorporated in 1870 Francis W. McGuire was appointed mayor. At that time he owned ten acres on Mill Street that later, on April 1, 1871, was bought by William Rummel. There McGuire operated a steam sawmill, cotton gin and other machinery. There is no information that a house existed on the ten acres, but deed records do state that a house existed on block 23. That would have been adjacent to and to the south of the ten acres.
Carl William Rummel, Jr. (He preferred to be called William) and Clara Hillebrandt were married January 21, 1868, in the Bethlehem Lutheran Church by Reverend Adam Neuthard. It is assumed that this young couple began planning for a nice home and when they purchased the ten acres in 1871 their plans began to take shape.
William’s grandfather, Carl Siegismund Bauer, was an exceptional stone mason who had already helped construct the Schueddemagen house for his daughter and son in law, Conrad Schueddemagen, in the 1850s. He was also the planner and overseer for the construction of the Bethlehem Lutheran Church dedicated in 1866, so it is assumed that he was instrumental in the plans for the Rummel Haus. It is also believed, although not documented, that the beautiful stone house which is known as the Rummel Haus probably was built in 1871 and 1872. Carl S Bauer passed away on January 27, 1873 after a brief illness.
William and Clara reared a family of six children, three boys and three girls in Round Top. They are buried in the Bethlehem Lutheran Cemetery as is Carl S. Bauer.
The newest addition to the Library campus is the Activity Annex. The Annex currently consists of a large main building that serves as the primary children’s activity center, a small art annex that is utilized for all art classes, and a Junior Master Gardener building. The property and land were purchased in 2018 and renovated in 2019. It is still an ongoing project.
The main building is available for community meetings and events. The downstairs has a full kitchen, a large room and two bathrooms. The upstairs has a large room and another bathroom available. The Annex can hold a maximum of 50 guests. Please call the Library for more information about renting the Annex.
- Popular reading material
- Best sellers
- Classic and contemporary literature
- Audio Books
- Movies on DVD
- Apply for Library Card below
Services For Children
- Junior Master Gardeners (JMG)
- ARTs Art a partnership with ARTs for Rural Texas
- Children’s Summer Programs
- Storytime for Preschoolers
- Other programs as announced
- Free Community WIFI (Inside and Out)
- Collaboration with local schools and arts organizations
- Community use of historic Rummel Haus with full kitchen for special and private events
- Grace Community Garden
- Children’s playground with shade cover
Adults & Seniors
- Yoga Classes
- Computer Instruction for Seniors
- Senior Social Events
- Mentoring and Volunteer Opportunities
- Special Events
- Other programs as announced
The Round Top Family Library is a rural, non-profit organization funded and operated cost effectively and efficiently through private donations, events, volunteers, a committed volunteer board, city funding, grants, and community partnerships. As a lending institution for children, families, and adults, the Library has the additional purpose of serving diverse community segments, and visitors, in non-traditional ways.
Innovative programs and community projects are available in this community center for learning and enrichment. Here, patrons and individuals of varied backgrounds are accommodated in a warm and inviting atmosphere where they may meet and connect to each other, and to the world.
Since its founding, the Round Top Family Library has been blessed by exceptional leadership, both from its Director and Staff, its Board of Directors, Advisory Board and Volunteers. The institution has grown from an underfunded tiny children’s library in the historic Rummel Haus that existed only because it was given a 30 year lease for $1.00 per year, to a certified public library and community center whose grounds and elegantly restored historic buildings are debt free. Our programs have expanded and diversified far beyond our early dreams. That was only possible with the hard work and wise leadership of many people.
Ms. Barbara, as she is lovingly known, was for many years the Elementary School Librarian at Round Top Carmine Schools. When she retired, she was invited to serve on our Board of Directors. At that point in the Library’s development, we had received the incredible gift of the Sterling and Marianne McCall Building, but were having growth pains because without an endowment or significant public support, the Library was living almost month to month.
Not long after she joined our Board, she was “called by her maker” to lead the operations of the Library. She immediately began cost-cutting and using her relationships with the local community to lead us beyond those hard times. She has now become the “true heart” of the Round Top Family Library. Every day we thank our lucky stars that she never got around to retiring.
Children's Program Manager
Mary Leitko has held the post of Children’s Program Manager at the library since 2013. She has attended schools in California, Nebraska, Florida and Texas but feels her real education comes from being a student of life. Mary is responsible for creating and implementing children’s after-school programs during the school year and for the busy eight-week summer program schedule.
Pat Cox has worked at the library since 2010. In addition to bookkeeping and front desk duties, Pat leads the library book club and is library liaison for the FYI program series.
Keelia Ritch has been a staff member since 2014 and is a daily presence at the front desk. Keelia handles publicity and advertising for library programs and special events. She also leads a library program teaching yoga to children at the local elementary school. Keelia will manage much of the updating of the new Round Top Family Library website.
Board of Directors
Chris & Cheryl Travis
† † Sterling McCall † †