Macon's Washington Memorial Library has been named one of Georgia Public Library Service's 10 most beautiful in Georgia.
"The Washington Memorial Library opened Nov. 28, 1923, on the site of Washington Place, the home of former Macon Mayor James H. R. Washington. His granddaughter, Ellen Washington Bellamy, donated the site and $50,000 for a library to be built in memory of her brother, Hugh Vernon Washington. Memorials to the family are incorporated into the architecture, including a coat of arms above the original front door and bas-relief cameos high on the north and south interior walls. The Lanier Alcove houses a bust of poet Sidney Lanier by Gutzon Borglum, designer of Mount Rushmore and Stone Mountain. The library’s Genealogical & Historical Room ranks among the top such facilities in Georgia."
"From a 130-year-old English Baroque library with stained glass crafted by Tiffany to a seaside casino turned National Literary Landmark to a contemporary Atlanta architectural icon, Georgia Public Library Service’s newly recognized list of the state’s 10 Most Beautiful Public Libraries offers a treasure trove of charms waiting to be discovered.
In chronological order, the list includes:
The Mary Willis Library in Washington (1888)
The Carnegie Branch Library in Savannah (1914)
The Washington Memorial Library in Macon (1923)
The St. Simons Island Public Library (1937)
The Buckhead Branch Library in Atlanta (1989)
The Columbus Public Library (2005)
The Hamilton Mill Library in Dacula (2011)
The Dog River Public Library in Douglasville (2011)
The Porter Memorial Library in Covington (2011)
The Metropolitan Library in Atlanta (2015)
To identify and recognize these libraries, GPLS solicited help from residents around the state. After a two-month online-submission campaign, the agency received nominations recommending a total of 60 facilities.
'Those libraries were then judged on their overall design, both in form and function, as well as for their interior and exterior styles and sense of timelessness,” explained State Librarian Julie Walker. “We also wanted to recognize libraries that are, or were, innovative for their time, as well as those whose design reflects and serves their respective communities.'
A panel of public library and architecture professionals reviewed the candidates this winter and, over the course of three rounds of voting, narrowed the 60 nominees down to 10. The judging panel included Leslie Sharp, associate vice provost with the Georgia Institute of Technology and a teacher of historic preservation in the College of Architecture there, and Allyson McCarthy, architect and partner with Turco McCarthy Architecture & Design, who is a former chair of the Atlanta Urban Design Commission. Panel members from GPLS were Walker; Wendy Cornelisen, assistant state librarian for library innovation and collaboration; Jessica Everingham, assistant state librarian for library development and support; Nathan Rall, director of library planning and construction; and David Baker, director of communications and strategic partnerships. Between them, Rall and Baker have nearly five decades of experience working in the design and construction industry."
Patrons can pick up their very own passport from Washington Memorial Library as well as get their “passports” stamped at Washington Library and each of the 17 libraries included in the promotion. The other seven libraries “whose architectural significance or spectacular settings make them equally worthy destinations for travelers,” the news release says, are: Atlanta Central Library, the Eatonton-Putnam County Library, the Lavonia-Carnegie Library, the Royston Branch Library, Savannah’s Bull Street Branch Library, the Senoia Branch Library and the Towns County Public Library by Lake Chatuge in the town of Hiawassee.