It is one of those places that I have driven past for so long and always told myself that I should check out, I'm talking about the Detroit public library's main branch located on Woodward Ave across from the DIA. Well, finally I did. The building was constructed between 1915-1921. Construction was delayed because of world war I. It opened on March 21, 1921. It was built with funds donated by philanthropist Andrew Carnegie in 1910. The building was designed by architect Cass Gilbert in the Italian Renaissance style. Gilbert also designed the famous Woolworth Building in New York. The building is faced in white marble.
The interior of the building is decorated with stained glass, murals and Pewabic tile. The third floor features a large center hall with a soaring ceiling and beautiful murals. I did notice some water damage in a couple of places. I also noticed the front porch is collapsing and they have most of it railed off with a straight path to the front entrance. North and south wings were added and opened on June 23, 1963. The wings were connected on the rear of the building and a new entrance was created on Cass Ave. The Cass Ave entrance features a mosaic by artist Millard Sheets entitled The River of Knowledge.
This branch also houses the Burton Historical Collection. The collection is one of the best in the country and if you are doing genealogical research on your family you may find important documents in the collection. The collection has old maps, photos, manuscript collections, personal papers and the governmental archives of Wayne county and Detroit. The library also has the rare book collection. In this collection they have the Samuel Clemens (Mark Twain) collection which includes the original manuscript of Huck Finn and Tom Sawyer among the Indians!
The building is ornate and you can spend a lot of time just walking around enjoying the beautiful architecture. Don't delay any longer, check this place out!