Library Stop: Atlanta, Illinois

Since I love libraries so much and my partner and I regularly take road trips, I thought it would be fun and possibly of interest to fellow book lovers to post occasional pictures of libraries we encounter on our travels.  The first featured library appropriately starts with the letter “A.”


Atlanta Public Library
100 Race Street, Atlanta, IL
Built: 1908
Contains 13,190 volumes
Serves 2,325 residents
Circulates 3,032 items/year
Date visited: March 31, 2010

It’s the only octagonal public library in Illinois.

The plaque reads:

The Atlanta Public Library was founded in 1873 by public spirited citizens who realized the importance of books. In 1973, the museum was added for the purpose of preserving Atlanta’s heritage. In 1979, this octagonal structure was listed on the national register of historical places. Atlanta, founded in 1853 as Xenia, had Logan county’s first bank in 1854. Abraham Lincoln traveled throughout this area and was well known by several of Atlanta’s pioneer families. Lincoln attended the July 4, 1859 picnic at Turner’s Grove on the southeast edge of Atlanta and was presented a gold-handled cane by Sylvester Strong. In 1860, the initial “wide-awake” group supportive of Lincoln’s presidential bid was organized in Atlanta. Lincoln’s friends fired thirty-three cannon rounds when they heard the news of his nomination.

Unfortunately, the library closes early on Wednesdays (4:30pm), so I didn’t get to go inside to see its original turn of the century book stacks and furniture.  But here’s a picture that I took through the front door.

The clock tower next to the library houses a 1909 Seth Thomas clock.  The clock was originally part of the Atlanta High School.  When the high school was razed in 1979, the citizens of Atlanta saved the clock.  The restoration of the clock and construction of the 36-foot tower were completed in 1982.  The clock rings on the hour and has an impressively loud chime which sounded while we were out front talking with a local man who was telling us some stories about Atlanta history, particularly about how Abe Lincoln was friends with some local families and would stay with them when he was traveling.  It was loud enough that we quit talking and waited for the seven chimes to sound.  The 36-inch brass bell weighs 1,200 pounds.

Together the library and clock tower form an impressive pair.


  1. I love this feature. My husband and I have been fortunate to be able to visit many near-state libraries and although the sleek, new libraries are usually attractive, I find there's something missing from them. On the other hand, older libraries are rife with history — not just in their collections, but in their personal accounts.

    I'm anxious to see the other libraries you will be visiting.

  2. The museum is no longer there it is caddy whompus from the library (next to the Palm Grill Cafe.) There is also antique furniture or old book shelves as stated above.

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