The Harlem Walton Library will celebrate its 25th anniversary on Oct. 18 at 3 p.m. and everyone is cordially invited. City and county officials, as well as other guests, will be present on this special occasion.
The building looks much the same as it did a century ago, when it was built in 1904. It was the home of Helen and Frank Walton and their sons, William and Stanley. Helen was a teacher in Columbia County for many years. She was very brilliant and a reader of the best of literature. It was her dream that one day her home would become a library for everyone to enjoy. She died in 1947.
On Dec. 24, 1974, the house was deeded to the city of Harlem by Montine Walton to be used as a library and city offices, and to be named for her husband William and his mother, Helen.
At the September 1980 meeting of the Harlem Woman's Club, President Mrs. John Eckenroth appointed a committee to establish a library for the community. They lost no time taking steps to achieve this project. The library became a reality within a year.
On Oct. 18, 1981, the opening of the Harlem Branch of the Columbia County Library was held at 3 p.m., and a large crowd was present. It was reported that in the first year, more books were read from it than any other branch. During the years the number of patrons visiting the library each year rose to 10,000, according to Branch Manager Edna Wise. Due to this increase more space was needed.
With help from citizens from the area and those with past connections, together with city and county officials, the library was renovated and additional space was added.
On March 29, 2003, a dedication ceremony was held. Taking part in this ceremony were Mayor Scott Dean, the Rev. J. Rudolph Dixon Sr., Kevin Horsley, Elyse Walden, Library Board Chairman Dr. Jefferson F. Hardin, and Mrs. Emily Middleton.
The committee planning the 25th anniversary of the celebration are Emily Middleton, Bette Sargent, Robin Root, Amanda Cash and Ann Blalock. Those planning to attend the 3 p.m. ceremony on Oct. 18 should call (706) 556-0043.
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