COLUMBUS, Miss. (WCBI) – Antebellum homes, Friendship Cemetary, civil war markers, there’s no doubt plenty of history is right here in Columbus. During spring pilgrimage the friendly city’s heritage is on full display. But all year community artifacts and records can be explored in the Columbus Lowndes Public Library, making it one of the area’s “Hidden Treasures.”
“Everyone is amazed when they come in here, especially people from out of town, because they aren’t expecting an archives of this size,” said library archivist Mona Vance.
It’s one of the largest public archives in the state. The Billups Garth Archives and Buckley Geneology rooms inside the Columbus Lowndes Public Library uncover the mysteries of our past. Over 5,000 books, hundreds of reels of microfilm, photos, records and old newspapers bring history to life.
“We are lucky to have an archives and local history department of this size in a town the size of Columbus. A lot of times you’ll find archives like this at a university, and we also have one full-time paid staff member. We have an incredibly large size archives that’s tremendously supported by the community and we sincerely appreciate it,” Vance said.
The state, county and city records date back to the 1820s. Shelves hold voter registration books, marriage records and maps of the area’s past layout. More than 1,000 collections are stored inside the humidity free and dark space, with acid free boxes and UV protected lights.
2,000 people from all over the world come search the archives every year.
“People have contacted us from Australia, France and Canada to do research on Lowndes County. A lot of times they are writing books on different people of historical note, or researching their families. Some often are researching houses, civil war individuals or civil rights. In one way or another a lot of people in the world have a connection to Lowndes County,” Vance says.
Vance says you don’t have to be a professional historian to enjoy the archives. Some enjoy stopping by just to look. She warns if you are ready for geneology research, it will take time and you won’t find everything at once.
The library also offers two free online geneology data bases that can be accessed at home with your library card.
For more information visit www.lowndeslibrary.org or call (662) 329-5300.