Library Postcards:Civic Pride in a Lost America

Adrian Public Library on poem card
This Post Card to you dear friend
In place of a letter I send
What you may like better,
a fat newsy letter
To write before long I intend.

Much information came from a pleasant discovery, Terwilliger's Carnegie Libraries in Michigan, now offline. Other sources include various pages and, of course, Bobinski's 1969 Carnegie Libraries.

Carnegie Buildings of Michigan
Cities A-F

Carnegie funded libraries are featured on this page, with the exception of Detroit's branch libraries, for which records are not entirely clear. Detroit, therefore, has its own page, and Non-Carnegie buildings are on the Michigan Libraries page.


Adrian, MI Carnegie Library (L) Benfer & Nachtried postcard.
(R) C.U. Williams postcard.
Adrian, MI Carnegie Library
(R) Photo postcard with a newer fire station in the background, with a hose tower. There is also a US 223 route shield. The corner street sign shows E. Church. Adrian, MI Carnegie Library

1904 grant. Cornerstone laid in 1907. Opened in 1908. Closed in 1978.
Since 1980, in use as the Lenawee Historical Society Museum.
(How I adore the work of the members of, whose site delivered this information.)

The poetry card above also features the Adrian Carnegie Library.


C.R. Childs card of Allegan, MI Public Library Allegan, MI Public Library Allegan, MI Public Library Allegan, MI Public Library

1913 Carnegie grant. 1986 expansion. Info courtesy of the Allegan District Library's web site.

In 2009, we visited Allegan, and I insisted on stopping and photographing its library. The traffic signs do not enhance my photos.

© 2009, Judy Aulik © 2009, Judy Aulik © 2009, Judy Aulik

Ann Arbor

Ann Arbor, MI Carnegie Library Ann Arbor, MI Carnegie Library Ann Arbor, MI Carnegie Library

No one seems to be able to find a good angle from which to shoot the library.

1903 grant, replaced in 1957. Incorporated into the UM campus.

Armada Free Library

Armada, MI Free Library

Library established 1901. Late 1913 grant. Opened April 3, 1915. Expanded, 1984-5.

The 52-6 notation on the card does not mean the photograph was taken in 1952, as the photo card was mailed in 1941.

Benton Harbor

Postcards of the old Benton Harbor Carnegie library have a rather posed, but whimsical, charm about them. The card to the right also features the No. 2 Reserves. However, the band looks the most menacing of the bunch, especially the baritone sax player to the upper left. Any man who can march with that monster could conquer a small country. Benton Harbor Library with Naval Reserve Band
Benton Harbor, MI Carnegie Library 1902 grant, demolished since.
It may be just as well. If you read the history of the library on its web site, you'll learn that its precursor went up in flames. This building was hit by a car twice, one ending up in its childrens' room. (I don't think the car on the card (L) was it.)
Finally, as the new library was being built in the 1960s, the old building's wall collapsed.
Both these cards have a certain informality about them, although the ladies in pink do look as if they're wondering where the bride went.
Benton Harbor, MI Carnegie Library

Boyne City

Boyne City, MI Carnegie Library (L) RPPC card mailed in 1948.
(R) Auburn Post Card, never mailed.
Boyne City, MI Carnegie Library

1916 grant. Still in use as a library.


Bronson, MI Carnegie Library (L) Wayne Paper Box & Prtg. Corp.
(R) Photo postcard.
Bronson, MI Carnegie Library

1910 grant. Still in use as a library. Along with Quincy, part of Branch District Library.


Cadillac, MI Carnegie Library Cadillac, MI Carnegie Library Cadillac, MI Carnegie Library

The 1903 building now serves as the Wexford Historical Museum. The library is now known as the Cadillac Wexford County Public Library, and even has 4 branches, small they may be.

Overall, the color Van Vranken German card (L) is rather, ahem, ugly. But it does have some neat details such as a tiny red striped drape inside the window (or perhaps a flag?), and a lovely stained glass inset over the entrance door.
The E.C. Kropp card (C) is a bit more attractive, but only the monochrome card shows the secondary entrance to the right of the stairs.


Cassiopolis, MI Public Library (L) The card is a local production by O.L. Yerty, who was also believed to be a healer, recorded on several sites related to the Church of God.
(R) C.R. Childs photo postcard, mailed in 1920.
Cassiopolis, MI Public Library

1908 grant. Replaced in 1977, but still serves as a local history branch of the Cass District Library.


Charlevoix, MI Carnegie Library

1907 grant. The card has a slight green tint in reality.

Replaced in 1967. It was sold, and demolished. The 1968 library was replaced in 2006, and resides in a building which resembles a hospital.


Charlotte, MI Carnegie Library 1902 grant.
Positively exuberant masonery, both real and imagined.
The building now serves as a law office. The replacement library is huge!
Charlotte, MI Carnegie Library


by J.R. Johnson (L) 1914 photo card by J.R. Johnson, who seems to be a better photographer than many.
(R) The linen finish card is one of E.C. Kropp's finest.
Cheboygan, MI Carnegie library
(R) Normally, L.L. Cook photo postcards are very attractive, but this photograph seems to have been taken at the wrong time of day. Cheboygan, MI Carnegie library

1908 grant. Replaced with an attractive brick building that looks like a Carnegie building for the new millennium.

Today the Carnegie building also serves as office space, and may become a cultural center.


Dowagiac, MI Carnegie library (L) Early E.C. Kropp postcard, never mailed.
(R) 1962 chrome postcard by Curt Teich, distributed by 'The Treasure House.'
Dowagiac, MI Carnegie library

Early 1903 grant.
A city subscription library predated the public library. It's still in use.


Escanaba, MI Carnegie library (L) The card was made for F. S. B., whoever that was. It was mailed in 1920.
(R) L.L. Cook photo postcard shows a State Fair advertisement on the bicycle, and a tiny 'No Parking' sign near the tree.
Escanaba, MI Carnegie library

Built in 1903. (No, not every Michigan Carnegie library was built in this year.) Dedomed in 1958. Still in use.


Flint, MI Carnegie library Flint, MI Carnegie library Flint, MI Carnegie library

Late 1902 grant. Demolished sometime since then, probably in practice for demolishing the auto industry.

(L) Depressingly bare trees in front of a grey library.
(C) Note the hitching posts across the street from the library building.
(R) J. Murray Jordan card.
Why yes, I did see 'Roger & Me.' What made you ask?