March 26,1953: Fifth Street Library Dedicated

FCPL dedication

After years of raising money and planning, the new public library opened at 660 West Fifth Street on this date in 1953.

The library moved from its previous location on Cherry Street, from the Carnegie Library that opened in 1906.

There was so much more room in the new library, that the shelves looked rather bare at first.  But patrons touring the new facility could marvel at the enlarged children’s room with record turntables, the light and open reading room, the auditorium with a raised stage, the art display on the walls leading to the auditorium, and a parking lot at the back.

The new library largely owed its existence to Meade Willis Sr. and Ralph Hanes, both known as “Mr. Library.”  Willis was chairman of the Library Commission from 1917 to 1947.  Hanes succeeded him as chairman in 1947..

The library was located on the site of the former R. J. Reynolds home.  The lot was donated for a new library by R. J. Reynolds Jr. in 1948.

Courtesy of Forsyth County Public Library Photograph Collection.

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