Henry G. Ferguson donated money to build the Accokeek Library in memory of his wife, Alice Ferguson, as an addition to the Accokeek Elementary School. It was independent of the school system and was the first Prince George's County branch library. Forty-nine years later, this small single-room library, attached to the Knights of Columbus building, still strives to serve a greatly enlarged population.
At its opening, Henry Ferguson gave part of Mrs. Ferguson's collection of colonial Marylandia to the Accokeek Library, with the stipulation, expressed in a later letter, that it "...remain in a special collection in the Accokeek Library, which I had hoped to make something of a reference center for material of this kind." In 1960, Mrs. Ferguson's collection had been moved to Hyattsville, and Henry Ferguson asked for its return. Pointing out that Mrs. Ferguson had been very active in assisting Accokeek and had a compelling interest in its welfare, he said, "my primary loyalty is to Accokeek."
The Prince George's County Library system purchased a four-acre site, across from the Accokeek Firehouse, in front of the National Capital Parks and Planning Commission's Accokeek Park with funds donated by Henry Ferguson for a new Accokeek branch library. "We are very grateful to Dr. Ferguson for his generous gift and look forward to the day when a new branch library will be begun on the land he made it possible for us to buy in such an excellent location," wrote Elizabeth Hage, the county library director.
Henry Ferguson died and, in his will, bequeathed $50,000 "...to construct a room in the new library to house the collection of [Mrs. Ferguson's materials] relating to the colonial history of Maryland and Virginia." With this bequest came two codicils: the library must be built within three miles of Christ Church, and it must be built within ten years, or the money would revert to the Alice Ferguson Foundation.
The County Library Board approved $10,000 for planning a new 20,000 square foot Accokeek Library. Test borings were made on the site.
The Prince George's Library system was authorized to sell bonds to build the Accokeek Library.
When the library bonds were sold in 1976, they did not include the new Accokeek library. The county gave the library site to the Accokeek park.
The ten years specified in Dr. Ferguson's will for the construction of the new Accokeek Library expired; and the $50,000 bequest, originally intended for an Alice Ferguson room dedicated to colonial Maryland, reverted to the Alice Ferguson Foundation. Mrs. Ferguson's historical materials also went to the Foundation where, over the years, they were disseminated.
The Friends of the Accokeek Library was founded in 1992 at a time when the budget for the Accokeek Library was threatened. With the help of a petition signed by Accokeek residents, The Accokeek Library was continued.
With the support of Mike Tilch, member of the Prince George's County Library Board, a new library for Accokeek was included in a proposed library bond. The Patrons Committee of the Friends collected $7,000 toward support of the library bond issue and a research room within the library to be dedicated to the history and heritage of the Potomac River.
Question G, a county-wide referendum on a $3 million bond issue for the construction of a new Accokeek Library and renovations for 5 existing libraries in the county passes by the largest percentage - 79.3% - of any question or candidate on the ballot.
The County Council passes $200,000 appropriation in the FY95 budget for planning of the new Accokeek Library.
The Friends of the Accokeek Library raise $3,000 to fund purchases of a multi-media computer for the existing one-room Accokeek Library.
Manning Clagett, Accokeek businessman, gave the county a 7-acre site on the access road on the east side of Indian Head Highway, back of the proposed shopping mall, as a site for the new Accokeek Library. This site with its topography later was considered too expensive to build on.
The South County Library Project was included in the 1996-2001 Capital Improvement Program with the support of County Executive Curry and Councilman Jim Estepp. The FY97 budget includes a $60,000 appropriation for planning the new library.
The County bought two and a half acres on Livingston Road, between the Faith Methodist Church at 17769 Livingston Road and the proposed Park and Ride Lot, for the site of the new Accokeek library.
The group, Lukmire Partnership, was chosen as architect for the new library. The group had been the architects for the renovation of the Bowie Library in 1998. The particular architect who has been assigned to the project is Jim Cox.
The new library will be approximately 12,000 sq. ft. It is scheduled to open in August, 2004.
A last look at the former Accokeek library
Conceptual photos of the new library
Construction photos of the new library
Photos of the completed library
The Grand Opening