31 july 1968 & central public library groundbreaking
#OTD 31 July 1968 Mayor Commissioner Walter Washington, Deputy Mayor Thomas Fletcher (white) and the library board hosted the groundbreaking ceremony for the new Central Public Library (901 G St NW). According to the Evening Star, more than 100 residents and city officials attended the ceremony. The building was designed by white architect Ludwig Mies Van Der Rohe and would be built by the white-owned Blake Construction Company.
Mayor Washington reportedly stated, "With completion of this building about two years from now, the District public library will be better able than ever before to serve all the people--the uneducated, as well as the scholar, the deprived as well as the affluent--not only in Washington but in the entire Metropolitan Washington."
In addition to speeches, a youth orchestra performed during the ceremony.
In the photo above, Fletcher, facing east toward the National Portrait Gallery on G St between 9th and 10th, addressed the audience.
Your comments are welcome below. Were you, family members or neighbors in attendance at the groundbreaking ceremony? Were you excited about the library? Do you know which orchestra performed at the groundbreaking? Did you perform? Do you have photographs? You may comment privately here.
Photo source: Courtesy DC Public Library Special Collections. Evening Star Photo Collection. Photographer unknown.
Robert J. Lewis, "Mayor Breaks Ground for Central Library," Evening Star 1 August 1968.