A presidential library may sound like a monument to a past leader, but it is really a time capsule that gives very visitor a living glimpse into history. The Jimmy Carter Library is one of those treasured time capsules of living history that represents the legacy of the United States of America with the historical memorabilia of the Carter Administration. The Jimmy Carter Library is operated by the National Archives Administration of the US Government.
Jimmy Carter was America’s 39th president and served in the Oval Office from 1977 to 1981. He had sought to build a library shortly after he entered office, but historians say that he didn’t specify a location, but only said he wanted it “someplace in Georgia” and made no other request on the location within he state where he was born and raised, and where he served as the governor before becoming president.
Jimmy Carter Library History Trivia
- 27 million pages of paper filled the library upon opening.
- The library was designed in collaboration by architects from Georgia and Hawaii.
- The temporary library was first housed in an Atlanta post office building.
- The Jimmy Carter library has an exact replica of the Oval Office as it was during Carter’s presidency.
- The entire project cost $26 million-all raised from donations.
- Ground breaking began on October 2, 1984.
- The Jimmy Carter Library was opened on October 1, 1986.
- A research room was added in 1987 that includes many historical archives.
- It is said that President Carter wanted his library “someplace in Georgia” but he gave no specifics.
The Georgia Encyclopedia tells us that the library was already in operation in a temporary location in Georgia’s capital of Atlanta long before the actual building opened. It was coincidentally appropriate that the temporary library of a US President be located in a government building; in the case of the Jimmy Carter library, the temporary home was a post office.
Carter’s library also shares grounds with the Carter Center, an organization he and his wife, Rosalynn founded in 1982. The Carter Center is a non-profit that focuses on the preservation and protection of human rights worldwide. Like the Carter Center, the former president’s passion for human rights issues continued to have a strong presence in the years after Carter left the Oval Office.
The Library’s Neighborhood Also Emulates Carter’s Political History
The freeway that serves the Atlanta neighborhood where Jimmy Carter Library and Museum is located was once called the Jimmy Carter Parkway. The name was later changed to “Freedom Parkway”. The project to build the major thoroughfare in Atlanta far predates the library. Like most major interstate highway projects, its own history goes back to the 1960s. Much controversy surrounded its construction as eminent domain was a factor that upset many who lost their homes for progress. Ironically, the entire parkway project was halted for a time in 1970s for various reasons, including the eminent domain issue. The project was halted by the governor of Georgia, whose name was Jimmy Carter.