Where in Charlotte is the Billy Graham Library located?
Set just off Billy Graham Parkway, near the Charlotte Douglas International Airport, it’s challenging to imagine a more picturesque setting. Nestled in a quiet wooded area, the Billy Graham Library is conveniently located no more than four miles for visitors traveling on I-85, I-77 and I-485.
What’s there to experience at the Billy Graham Library?
The Library is unique and quite possibly unlike anything your group has experienced before. Set on 20 beautifully landscaped acres, the barn-shaped building symbolizes Billy Graham’s journey from son of a farmer to “America’s Pastor.” Four distinct areas comprise the Library campus.
A Journey of Faith presents Billy Graham’s remarkable international journey and the lives he touched during his ministry. Presidents of the United States of America and international leaders drew strength from Graham’s faith. Two gang members that came to Christ at a Graham crusade turned in their guns. Even the Cold War would not prevent Graham from taking his message of God’s love behind the Iron Curtain.
The story is told through multimedia, interactive kiosks, photos and memorabilia. Six general topics from Graham’s life are documented. The Journey is kept fresh, as items are regularly pulled from the archives and displayed.
Billy Graham was adamantly against a library bearing his name. He wanted nothing to distract from the message he’d preached in his ministry. The gospel and Christ are the way to salvation. When the idea was presented as “An ongoing crusade…” Graham had a change of mind. He embraced the idea of a continuing ministry.
The Graham Family Homeplace became the family residence when Billy Graham was 9 years old. He lived there until leaving for college. The two-story brick colonial that sits on the Library campus has numerous original building parts. More than 1,000 bricks and wood flooring were part of the restoration. Original furnishings, period appliances, furniture and memorabilia from the Graham family are all features of the interior. The original home was located just four miles from its present site. It provides a fascinating look into the lives of the family.
Ruth’s Attic Bookstore displays the enjoyment and enrichment that Billy Graham and his wife, Ruth Bell Graham, found in the printed word. A treasure trove of faith-based selections, the Bookstore offers exceptional works by Billy and Ruth Graham and an extensive selection of Bibles. Other selections include foundational works of evangelism by noted authors, DVDs of inspiring sermons, CDs of worshipful music, Christian classics and books by members of the Graham family, plus gifts, collectibles, Library apparel and home décor.
The 140-seat Graham Brothers Dairy Bar is the perfect spot to enjoy lunch, or just a snack. The setting is unique with booths resembling stalls, cow-print tablecloths, milk cans and family photographs adorning the walls. The food is wonderful and features numerous Graham family favorites. You’ll definitely want to save room for fresh baked cookies and pound cake and ice cream. If nothing else, be sure to try a milkshake. If you’re looking for some relaxation, step onto the covered patio. Enjoy the gardens and relax in the rockers. Wi-Fi is available and free in the Dairy Bar.
The Memorial Prayer Garden is the perfect place for peaceful reflection and enjoying the landscaped beauty of the Library campus. The Garden is also the burial site for Ruth Bell Graham, George Beverly Shea, a longtime member of the Billy Graham crusade team, and Billie Barrows, crusade pianist and wife of Cliff Barrows.
What special events are happening at the Billy Graham Library?
There’s always something going on at the Library. Book signings are a fixture. Phil and Kay Robinson of the popular TV show “Duck Dynasty,” former NFL player and Heisman Trophy winner Tim Brown, authors and speakers Dr. James and Shirley Dobson, and college football coach Bobby Bowden have all been hosted recently.
Visit the website billygrahamlibrary.org to plan for these annual events: April Ladies Tea & Tour, Mother’s Day Weekend and Law Enforcement Appreciation Breakfast & Tour. The 8th Annual Bikers With Boxes on Oct. 17, 2015 is a charity event to benefit kids through Operation Christmas Child. A parking lot with more than 1,000 bikes is a spectacle worth seeing.
December 1 ushers in Christmas at the Library. An ABA Top 100 Event and Top Southeast Tourism Event, this special time of the year at the Library is recommended as “Things to Do” by Trip Advisor. There are carolers, carriage rides, a live Nativity depicting the first Christmas, Christmas storytime for the children, a light display, Christmas tree and special treats from the Dairy Barn. Thursday through Saturday a Christmas Dinner in the dining hall of the adjacent Billy Graham Evangelistic Association can be arranged for groups.
What do groups need to know about planning a visit to the Billy Graham Library?
Both secular and spiritual groups are welcome at the Library. Operating hours are Monday through Saturday 9:30 AM to 5:00 PM. Admission is free, but if you choose to make a contribution, donation boxes are located in the lobby. Parking is free with dedicated space for motorcoaches.
Plan to spend 1.5-2 hours to tour the Library, Homeplace and Memorial Gardens. Extra time will be needed if groups choose to have lunch on their own at the Graham Brothers Dairy Bar. Meal vouchers and menus are available, and motorcoach drivers and escorts are complimentary when reservations are made in advance.
A 3.5-hour expanded guided tour is also available. In addition to the Journey of Faith and Homeplace, this tour provides an in-depth look at the video production facilities and insight into the history and heritage of Billy Graham and the Library. Lunch is included.
Responding to the remarkable number of Christian, public and home school visitors at the Library each year, an educational program is being developed. Six core lessons will welcome student groups and educate a new generation about Billy Graham’s contributions around the world. When completed by year’s end, each lesson will meet North Carolina state and federal educational standards.
By Dave Bodle – Associate Publisher