Walterboro Library Society – Walterboro, South Carolina
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This small building in Walterboro served as the town’s library from 1824 until 1955. The Walterboro Library Society was established in 1820, and this tiny but elegant frame structure was built to house its volumes in 1824 on the present site of St. Jude’s Episcopal Church. When the town was finally incorporated in 1826, the library was already so vital to the community that the town’s boundaries were established as “3/4 of a mile in every direction from the Walterboro Library.”
The Walterboro Library, also known as the “Little Library,” operated as a subscription library until it was disbanded and the building given to the town in 1835. The library’s collection was then distributed among the library society’s members. In 1845 the building was moved to its current location to sit on land donated by Richard Bedon; in fact, the library sat directly in front of his home. An attempt was made to revive the library society in 1866 following the Civil War, again as a subscription library. This group was called the Philomothian Library Society and had moderate success. Finally in 1888, librarian and former teacher Claudia Stuart resuscitated the floundering library. In 1925 the Town of Walterboro assumed responsibility for the library and made it a free library.
In 1955 the library merged with the Colleton County Library to form the Colleton County Memorial Library. Today the former “Little Library” serves as the headquarters for the Colleton County Historical and Preservation Society.
The Walterboro Library Society Building is listed in the National Register:
The Walterboro Library Society Building, constructed in 1820, is significant in the areas of architecture, literature and history. This building has served since 1820 as a center of literary activity for the Colleton County area. At the time of its nomination, the building was noted as being adaptively used as headquarters for the Colleton County Historical Society. The strong influence of the library society was evidenced by the town boundaries being fixed as “3/4 of a mile in every direction from the Walterboro Library” when Walterboro was incorporated in 1826. The library is a small, white, frame Federal style building with a side-gabled roof. The front façade’s Palladian-style door surround contains double, four-paneled doors with four-paned sidelights and a simple entablature capped by a fanlight. The sidelights and fanlight, in addition to the standard windows on either side of the entrance, have green louvered shutters. The small building’s remaining elevations each contain a similar Palladian-style window with green louvered shutters.
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Walterboro Library Society Info
Address: 803 Wichman Street, Walterboro, SC 29488
GPS Coordinates: 32.904491,-80.659388
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