The first week of April is Library week. Michigan has many beautiful libraries and I put together a list of some of my favorite Carnegie Libraries. I still love going to my local library to borrow books and do research. Even in this hi-tech era with the internet, I find the good old-fashioned library is needed and they have lots of information that I can’t find on the internet.
Escanaba Public Library
The Carnegie library opened in May 1903 located at 201 South Seventh Street in Escanaba, Michigan. It was listed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1977, and constructed with $20,000 in funds donated by Andrew Carnegie. The city of escanaba promised additional yearly operation funds. The building was designed by local architect Theodore Lohff. In 1992, the city began construction on a new city hall and library complex. The library moved to the new location in 1995, and the old Carnegie building was sold to private owners, who refurbished it with the intention of converting it into a private home.
Houghton Public Library
The building was built with a 1908 grant from Andrew Carnegie. It served as the public library for Houghton, Michigan from its opening in 1910 until 2006. It is the former building of the Portage Lake District Library. The building was built in 1909, at the site originally occupied by the Armory Building for Company G of the Houghton Light Infantry, using a $15,000 grant from Andrew Carnegie. The building was declared a Michigan State Historic Site on June 18, 1976, listed as the Houghton Public Library. The building is built in the Classical Revival style.
Since 2006 it has been The Carnegie Museum of the Keweenaw that houses changing exhibits about local cultural and natural history. In October 2013, the museum became a Heritage Site of the Keweenaw National Historical Park
Iron Mountain Carnegie Library
While in Iron Mountain on business during 1901, Andrew Carnegie saw the need for a library on the Menominee Iron Range which was then a prospering area. He donated $15,000 for this building. Serving the community for over seventy years, the Neo-Classical Revival structure, designed by James E. Clancy, was one of the earliest Carnegie libraries in the Great Lake State. In 1971 this edifice became the Menominee Range Museum, featuring the history of its namesake.
In 1885 a group of Manistee ladies formed the Lakeside Club, whose primary goal was to create a library. In 1902 the club joined forces with the local literary society and successfully campaigned for a public library. The Andrew Carnegie Foundation funded the construction. The Manistee City Library opened in 1905. Designed by Port Huron architect George L. Harvey, the building, with its grand entrance pavilion, reflects Beaux Arts Classicism. The library is listed in the National Register of Historic Places.”
In 1914 the Marlette Research Club composed of women in the community decided to build a public library for Marlette. The club contacted the Carnegie Corporation for a grant to build the library. In compliance with the Carnegie Corporation’s rules, Marlette raised funds and instituted a quarter-mill tax for maintenance of the library. In 1918 the Carnegie Corporation agreed to fund the Research Club’s library project. The simple brick building was constructed in 1921. The building has a hipped roof and a portico of classical design. The library was the last in the Midwest to receive a Carnegie library grant and the second to the last to do so in the country. The Marlette District Library is one of fifty-three Michigan libraries funded by the Carnegie Corporation.
Owosso Public Library
The Shiawassee District Library branch in Owosso was built on a Carnegie library grant. The library was granted $20,000 on April 2, 1913
Petoskey Public Library
On 27 January 1908, Andrew Carnegie gave the City of Petoskey $12,500, and the Common Council agreed by definite resolution to maintain the library when completed The building was designed by the Grand Rapids firm of Williamson & Crow, Architects. It was constructed in 1908 and dedicated in 1909. Only the best stone and brick were to be used on the exterior, with black ash woodwork used extensively inside.The existing Carnegie Library building is one of the most significant historic buildings in Petoskey, architecturally as the most outstanding example of the neo-classical revival style, and historically as one of an ever-decreasing number of remaining Carnegie libraries in the country. It is listed on the National Register of Historic Places by its inclusion in the Downtown Petoskey Historic District. It is the oldest municipal building in Emmet County in continuous original use.
While living in Petoskey in 1919, the library was a favorite haunt of Earnest Hemingway’s and, in December, wearing his Italian cape and Red Cross uniform, he spoke here to the Ladies Aid Society about his world war I experiences. At that event he met the Connable family who led to his connection with the Toronto Star newspaper and his employment as its European Correspondent
Port Huron Public Library
The Port Huron Public Library opened on May 26, 1904. The keynote address was delivered by Melvil Dewey, State Librarian of New York, and creator of the Dewey Decimal System. The building was financed by a $40,000.00 donation from Pittsburgh philanthropist and steel entrepreneur Andrew Carnegie. In 1967, the Port Huron Public Library was moved and reconstituted as the St. Clair County, Michigan Library System. the building was slated for demolition. Through the dedicated efforts of concerned volunteers, the Museum of Arts & History opened its doors on May 3, 1968.
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