Hidden in plain view on the third floor of the Simon Schwob Memorial Library is what may be the best-kept secret in town.
The Columbus State University Archives is a repository for priceless items that document the history of the university, the city of Columbus and the region at large. And the collection continues to grow.
Archivists are already going through mounds of material and artwork relating to Eddie Owens Martin and the place he called Pasaquan that will eventually be housed at CSU's main campus.
Then on Tuesday it was announced that Historic Westville has selected the CSU archives as a resting place for its historical documents.
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Where these collections will go hasn't been decided because, as Archivist David Owings points out, "We're bursting at the seams."
Private collections from some old line Columbus businesses are also in the pipeline, so CSU officials are hoping that the state will turn loose of expansion funds that the Georgia Legislature cut from this year's budget.
For people interested in local history, the archives already is a fascinating place to visit. It contains books, maps, photographs, audio recordings and architectural drawings, along with research papers and oral histories compiled by CSU students and faculty.
"We're about preserving the history of Columbus and its people. We save it. We document it. Then we make sure it's accessible," Owings said.
The Pasaquan collection will broaden its appeal for it details the story of St. EOM, the bearded eccentric who created the artistic compound in the heart of Marion County.
The Pasaquan Preservation Society has deeded the site to the Kohler Foundation, a philanthropic organization committed to preserving and restoring important pieces of art. Once Kohler's restoration is completed, it will be turned over to Columbus State.
Eventually, the archives will house St. EOM's personal papers and his colorful costumes along with documents that will allow researchers to separate the fact and fantasy of this colorful character from down the road.
The Westville Collection will document the story of a more somber attraction. It opened as a living history museum in 1970 and is in the process of being relocated from Lumpkin to Columbus. It began in Jonesboro as the Fair of 1850, operated by Col. John Word West, a respected educator of that era. He started accumulating artifacts in 1928.
CSU should expect the first boxes of history in the next two weeks. "We have 10 to 12 Banker Boxes full of materials, but we're not going to drop a truckload of boxes on them at once," said Darby Brito, Westville's Director of Marketing.
The archives is busy, but many people still don't fully understand why it exists.
"We're not a museum," Owings said. "We want to attract people who have a need for the materials we have."