Bull Street Library Centennial

Surrounded by late-Victorian homes and adjacent to a small city park modeled on the squares in historic downtown Savannah, the main library building known as Bull Street Library, located at 2002 Bull Street, opened for use in November 1916.

The library building was furnished largely by a second Savannah grant from the Carnegie Corporation; of the total cost of $104,041.78 the local contribution was only $29,041.78. Its neoclassical design was provided by architect H. W. Witcover, who also designed Savannah’s City Hall.

The building, which had seemed quite spacious when it was first put into service in 1916, was badly overcrowded by the time a book stack wing was added in 1936. A grant from the WPA provided for the addition of a small wing filled with book stacks and a mural depicting a scene from the Robin Hood story in the children’s room. By 1956, the overcrowding in the Main Library had grown quite serious. A temporary measure to relieve this situation was the 1956 purchase of a residence immediately behind the Main Library. Into it were moved the extension service staff and book collection and certain non-public activities such as mimeographing and display making. In 1963, the need for space in the Main Library building had become acute.

A new expansion and renovation project was completed in 1999, restoring the Bull Street Library to its former glory and more than doubling the building’s size to 66,000 square feet. The 1916 building was restored to its original condition and painted in the neoclassical style of Robert Adam. The 1966 split-block addition was replaced with an elegant new addition clad in white Georgia marble and featuring vivid colors, sweeping curved walls, and enormous window walls looking out into the canopy of surrounding live oak trees.

Download the Bull Street Library History at-a-glance.

Read more about the Library’s history, here.

100 Good Books Campaign
Join us in celebrating Bull Street Library’s Centennial with 100 Good Books, a virtual book discussion in honor of the Bull Street Library Centennial! The list of 100 Good Books was carefully crafted by the Bull Street Library staff, using lists from all over the country, featuring titles available in our catalog.