Miss Beulah takes her place in history

Published 12:00 am Tuesday, December 1, 2009

By Shavonne Potts
About 100 years ago, the idea of forming a library in Salisbury sprang from an earthquake.
An earthquake struck Messina, Sicily, in 1908, and a group of Salisbury women wanted to know where in the world was Messina?
The group, headed by Beulah Stewart Moore, decided to travel mentally if not physically.
So they formed the Travelers’ Club in 1909.
Thursday, members celebrated the club’s 100th anniversary with a History and Art Trail marker dedication ceremony. The Public Art Committee dedicated the marker that bears the image of Moore on a bronze plaque at the corner of West Fisher and South Church streets. It’s a corner where the first library, now the Henderson Law Office, was housed.
The Public Art Committee started with researching the library and its founding members.
“It takes a long time to do,” said committee member Betty Dan Spencer.
The marker is one in a series of markers throughout Salisbury. It’s similar to one in front of city hall, made of bronze and bearing the history of a notable Salisburian.
This marker is 24 inches by 32 inches and has a granite foundation.
The Travelers’ Club also donated some of its memorabilia and documents to the Rowan Public Library’s history room collection, said Gretchen Witt, history room librarian.
“Somehow art is not controversial when it’s on a plaque in the ground,” Mayor Susan Kluttz said jokingly.
The library property is also the temporary home of “Pipeline” √≥ over 400 pounds of galvanized steel arcs created by by artist Jim Gallucci of Greensboro√≥ which is part of the Salisbury Sculpture Show.
Kluttz thanked county commissioners for the use of the property to place the marker.
“You all have done so much to contribute to this community,” she said.
In 1911, The Travelers’ Club donated the first $100 to the library fund. On Thursday the Club donated $5,000 to the library in the name of Margaret Jenkins Davis.
Davis was a member of the club.
“Not only did the Travelers’ Club help start this library, but they help sustain it,” said Dr. Gary Freeze, president of the Rowan Public Library Board of Trustees.
“Through contributions people can explore their world and expand their minds,” said Jeff Hall, director of the Rowan Public Library.