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Visit the Mary Willis Library in Washington Georgia

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Mary Willis Library EntranceCirca 1888 library, designed by Edmund Lind of Atlanta, features stained-glass windows and deep woods. See the lost Confederate treasure chest.

It was the first free public library in the state of GA when it opened. This was a revolutionary concept in a day when all the state's earlier libraries charged users a subscription fee.

The library was founded the previous year by Dr. Francis T. Willis in memory of his daughter, Mary. Dr. Willis, a local by birth who had moved to Richmond, Virginia in 1867, left the library as a gift to his hometown and its citizens. Dr. Willis donated his own private collection of books, plus fifteen thousand dollars for the library's construction, two thousand dollars to purchase furnishings and more books, and another ten thousand dollars as an endowment fund.

Noted Atlanta architect Edmund George Lind designed the library in the Queen Anne style, with masonry construction featuring detailed brickwork, a steeply gabled roof and a dome-capped tower. The library interior is lit by stained glass windows, including the central memorial window which was crafted by Tiffany Studios. The historic original 1889 construction covered a size of 2,655 feet.

By 1977, the facility had outgrown its original space, and an addition was needed. Architects Kuhlkhe and Wade of Augusta designed an annex which was attached to Lind's historic original structure. This first annex added 4,459 feet of floor space. A second, even larger addition of 5,267 feet was completed in 1991, designed by architect Edmund Maddox of Savannah. Today's facility, at 12,381 feet is over four and a half times the size of the of the original.

The collection at Mary Willis Library includes at its core a number of rare books on local and state history, books by authors native to the Washington-Wilkes County area, genealogical archives, and historic memorabilia and newspapers from Washington's past.

Amenities: Parking, Restrooms, Mobility-Impaired Accessibility, Party Facilities. Phone: 706-678-7736 - Address: 204 E Liberty St., Washington Georgia - Mary Willis Library Website
Mary Willis Library

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