Downtown Knoxville library celebrating 50 years by honoring architect

Local News

Images credit: Calvin M. McClung Historical Collection

KNOXVILLE, Tenn. (WATE) — The Lawson McGhee Library is celebrating 50 years by honoring architect Bruce McCarty. On June 14, 1971, the downtown library was officially opened providing an anchor to the Knox County Public Library system.

According to a release from the Knox County mayor’s office, McCarty’s designs changed the cityscape forever. He also left his mark across the city by designing the Clarence Brown Theatre, the Cumberland Avenue pedestrian bridge and the City-County Building, in addition to TVA Towers.

For the 50th anniversary, architects Doug McCarty and Nathan Honeycutt will hold a presentation over Zoom at 7 p.m. Monday, June 14. They will be looking at the impact and evolution of Bruce McCarty’s designs. This event will be free, but advanced registration is required. To register visit the library’s registration page.

The original Lawson McGhee Library was opened in October 1886, 134 years ago, according to the library system. It was located the 100 block of Gay Street.

“We are proud of the longevity of our library system and its many innovations along the way,” Knox County Mayor Glenn Jacobs said. “Not only do we honor McCarty’s building at the 50-year mark, but we are also celebrating 100 years of the McClung Historical Collection at the East Tennessee History Center. It says a lot for our community that we’ve put a strong value on reading and research for over 135 years now.”

The Knox County Public Library system is the oldest continuously operating public library in Tennessee.

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