Miss Melissa Dickinson of Chicago had spent several seasons in Orange City and saw the need of a building for the use of the Library Association, and also for the books that had accumulated. In the early winter of 1897, she bought the Orange City Hotel on the south side of East Graves Avenue and had it remodeled. She gave the use of this building to the Library Association for $1 a year. The deed to this property also stated that the Village Improvement Association should always have free use of the auditorium for any entertainment for its benefit. If the building were sold, the money from the sale should be used for a similar building, and the Village Improvement Association always given free use of the building. It was a great gift and greatly appreciated.
Miss Dickinson was a very quiet modest woman who helped others to help themselves. She was of great assistance in bettering the community in every way, from the VIA to the fire ladies. She gave both her time and money. Her name will always stand as a synonym of education and progress.
Orange City had no electricity. People carried lanterns at night, so in 1904, the VIA voted to have lamp posts placed at corners of some of the streets. They bought 13 lamps a $3.50 each. Mr. Brenner offered to set the posts, and the VIA hired a man at $2.50 a week to light and care for them, putting in just enough kerosene oil to burn from dusk until 9 o’clock.
In 1915, the Village Improvement Association applied for a Charter of Incorporation when Albert Dickinson talked of giving the Association property for a park. At that time, Emma L. Dickinson, his wife, was president, Nellie L. Andrews first vice-president, Celia Babcock second vice-president, and Ellen A. Hill, secretary. The charter was signed by these officers and also by: Isabella Dunlap, Effie Taylor, Katherine Boyles, Ida Seydel, Katherine Clark, Catherine Goggins, Ella E. Fuller, and Lois I. Leavitt.