Lenawee Historical Society Museum, Adrian, Michigan
Posted by: boatchick
N 41° 53.829 W 084° 02.201
16T E 745821 N 4642604
Quick Description: Adrian’s Carnegie building, now the Lenawee County Historical Museum, recently celebrated its 100th anniversary.
Location: Michigan, United States
Date Posted: 3/21/2009 10:14:04 AM
Waymark Code: WM62AN
Adrian’s first attempt to secure a Carnegie grant, in 1902, met with failure. At that time, the library collection was held at City Hall, and that facility was considered adequate by the men evaluating the city’s request. However, when the collection grew to 20,000 volumes, a second request was made. This time, in 1904, Adrian was successful in receiving a $20,000 grant. Further requests increased the total amount of the grant to $27,500. After evaluating several potential sites, a lot next to City Hall on Church Street was chosen. The site was purchased in July of 1906. Architect Paul Moratz was hired to design the new library. C.F Matthes, a well-known local contractor, was hired to build the castle-like library. The red sandstone cornerstone, reading “CARNEGIE 1907”, was laid in a great ceremony on 5 November 1907. The day was commemorated with a large parade, speeches, music, and Masonic rituals. With similar ceremony, the first books were moved from City Hall to the new library on 14 December 1908.
The grand opening of the Adrian Carnegie Library Building was on 5 February 1909. The building kicked off nearly 70 years as home to the library with more speeches, more music, and more ceremony. The building had two entrances opening into a tiled lobby area with thick wooden columns. Large spaces on the main floor had smaller rooms around the perimeter. The circulation desk was in the middle of the area, with stairs behind it leading up to a small office-like area for the librarian. The second floor had an auditorium with a small stage and a divider which could be opened to enlarge the seating area. Like the main floor, the second floor had a large room with several smaller rooms around the edges. Today, the interior of the building is much like it was one hundred years ago. After building a new library building, the city of Adrian sold the Carnegie building to the Lenawee Historical Society in 1978 for ten dollars. That same year, the Richardson Romanesque style building was added to the National Register of Historic Places as building # 77000719. After restoration and renovation, the Museum was opened in 1980. The museum chronicles the history of the county from the first settlers to the railroad and manufacturing days of the early 20th century to the present day. One room is home to the annual temporary exhibit. This year (fall 2008-fall 2009), the exhibit displays the Home Front during World War II, with special emphasis on Lenawee County people and manufacturers. The museum is free of charge.
Jones, Theodore: Carnegie Libraries Across America
Richardi, Jan: Adrian’s Carnegie Library: “An Ornament to the City” A Lenawee County Historical Museum Publication
Lenawee Historical Society Museum
100 Years of History