Shortly after taking office as President, Jimmy Carter expressed interest in building a Presidential Library “someplace in Georgia.” The National Archives and Records Administration was invited to establish an office in the Old Executive Building to be staffed by archivists who could advise the White House staff on the preservation and arrangement of the twenty-seven million pages and other historical materials from the Carter presidency, prior to their movement to Georgia. As Carter’s presidency came to a close, a location search began for the Carter Library. After surveying a number of potential areas, today’s thirty-acre location was selected. The land, originally acquired to build an interstate highway, was owned by the state of Georgia. Ironically, the interstate plan was halted by then Governor Carter.
The Carter Presidential Library was built by Atlanta architectural firm, Jova/Daniels/Busby, in cooperation with Lawton/Umemura/Yamamoto of Hawaii who designed the structure. The facility includes the presidential library (donated to the federal government) and privately maintained spaces such as President Carter’s office, offices for foundations he supports, and The Carter Center of Emory University. The $26 million project, raised by donations from friends of President Carter from around the world, began with a ground breaking ceremony on October 2, 1984. The Jimmy Carter Presidential Library and Museum was dedicated during the museum opening on October 1, 1986.
While President Carter had his challenges as President, an outsider, form the south, he became a most admired and respect man after he left office. I wonder if we could ever elect a person as worthy as Jimmy Carter again. Perhaps President Obama comes as close as in my opinion as a humanitarian, and as a man.
Surprisingly, Atlanta is a city of only about half a million people, yet is always considered the “jewel” or gateway of the south. Yet the metro area numbers around 6 million people. I will spare you the Scarlet stories, preferring to stay with Jimmy, Ted Turner, Dr. King, and Ralph Abernathy.