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Matheson Archive Library awarded for preserving Gainesville's History

The Matheson Library and Archives complex won an award from the Florida Trust for Historic Preservation for preserving Gainesville's history.

Program Director Peggy Macdonald said they took an existing historic building and in the process of preserving it, they changed the use.

"There are organizations all over the state that restore old buildings... that's part of large scale historic preservation movement in Florida, so it's a very competitive process to win one of these award," Macdonald said.

The building was once a church in the 30's, later, it turned to a Melting Pot fondue restaurant. Now Macdonald said when entering this building, instead of gaining calories...you're gaining knowlege.

Librarian Bobby Parker said the library has about 4,000 books and some that date back to as early as 1912.

"We have books, yearbooks, periodicals, postcards, photographs all relating to Alachua county and the surrounding towns," Parker said.

Parker said they draw people in from across the country to learn more about Gainesville.

"It's important for a community to have an idea about its history and this is a welcoming place for people to come in, relax, study about their past," he said.

Most of the books are donated they said anyone can donate a book if it fits their criteria.


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