Library Postcards:Civic Pride in a Lost America

City Library from Boardman River, Traverse City, Mich.

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.

Some of the final libraries built from Carnegie grants are featured on this page.

Carnegie Buildings of Michigan
Cities G-Z

Non-Carnegie buildings are on the Michigan Libraries page.

Grand Haven

Construction RPPC

Replaced by the Loutit Library.

Quite a long correspondence is summarized on the library's history page. I'll summarize the grant process as beginning in 1902, with the dollar amount decreasing as the city received bequests and the city council shilly-shallied. Finally, the building was built in 1913, and opened in 1914.

This RPPC was taken in October, 1913, as construction was finishing.

The current building opened in 1967, and the Carnegie building demolished soon thereafter, meeting the ignominious fate of being becoming a bank parking lot.


Howell, MI Carnegie Library Two views of an interesting library building. At first I thought the photo card was of the Duluth library. Howell, MI Carnegie Library

Grant from 1902. The rest of the Library's history is on its website.


Hudson, MI Carnegie Library (L) Rather unattractive monochrome card.
(R) Corner view shows ivy climbing the stone walls.
Hudson, MI Carnegie Library

1903 grant. Still in use.

Iron Mountain

Iron Mountain, MI Carnegie Library (L) E.C. Kropp card, never mailed.
(R) C.E. Anderson card, mailed in 1911.
Iron Mountain, MI Carnegie Library

Unusual 1901 Carnegie building, now serving as the Menominee Range Historical Museum.

I wonder if Andrew got a little hot under the celluloid collar at the frivolity of both a balcony AND a porch.
Looking at this with modern eyes, my guess is that the back wing was the childrens' department.


Ironwood, MI Carnegie Library (L) Note the cannon near the corner. Return your books promptly on or before their due date.
E.C. Kropp card, never mailed.
(R) Earlier C.E. Wheelock card.
Ironwood, MI Carnegie Library

1900 Carnegie grant. Building was built in 1901, and is the oldest continually operating Carnegie Library in Michigan.


Ishpeming, MI Carnegie Library

1901 grant.
The Library (2015) is working on making this Carnegie building accessible. The site shows some interesting inside photos and drawings.

1903 card, published by Rotograph and printed in Germany.
The telephone/telegraph poles are absolutely festooned with wires and insulators. The store has a Quaker Oats sign on its side wall.
The library building bears a strong resemblance to the endangered, abandoned Waukegan, Illinois library building.


Jackson, MI Carnegie Library Jackson, MI Carnegie Library Jackson, MI Carnegie Library
A very early Curt Teich 'C.T. Photochrom'. An S.H. Knox card with unevenly divided back. A Hugh C. Leighton card, mailed 1909.
Interior of the Jackson, MI Carnegie Library Interior of the Jackson, MI Carnegie Library Interior of the Jackson, MI Carnegie Library
Three interior views of the lobby of the Carnegie building show us that this was likely a closed-stack institution.
Cards at left and center were produced by Curt Teich.
C.T. Photochrom,
mailed in 1914.
1908-1913 era.
2 1¢ stamps evaded postmarking.
It was probably mailed during WWI.
Drake Bros. card,
mailed in 1913.

1901 grant.

The library building is still in use as the centerpiece of the Jackson District Library. I doubt the card catalog (above) made it nearly 100 years.


Lansing, MI Carnegie Library Lansing, MI Carnegie Library Lansing, MI Carnegie Library Lansing, MI Carnegie Library Interior of the Lansing, MI Carnegie Library
S.H. Knox card, printed in Germany. Luxatone card, from Chicago. Harry H. Hamm card. The whole kielbasa,
old high school and the Library.
Interior, with reference desk
and closed stacks in the background.
Lansing, MI Carnegie Library Building is now part of the Lansing Community College, and houses the Office for Business Program. Read the PR release for a description of the renovation.
Said description called it an 1898 building, so read advisedly.
Steps now lead to windows View of Carnegie facade's attachment to a modern building Of course, I had to go photograph this building. Unfortunately, the weather was miserable, and steam rising from the storm sewers wrecked most of my shots. These copyrighted photos are the best of the day.

1902 grant.
Replaced by the tatted building.


Lapeer, MI Carnegie library

1917 grant. Somehow, a 1921 grant was obtained. Still in use as a library: the Marguerite deAngeli Branch of Lapeer Library District.

1938 Curt Teich postcard, in linen finish and a white border.


Ludington, MI Carnegie Library (L) Dates from 1907 and was mailed in 1909.
(R) Photo postcard mailed in 1912.
Ludington, MI Carnegie Library

1903 Carnegie building which is still in use. This, and a branch in Scottville, comprise the Mason County District Library.


Manistee, MI Carnegie Library (L) Can you say chiaroscuro?
This is another one of those early glossy cards that has no publisher's information. It's almost as vexing as library web sites without history.
(R) 1945 Curt Teich postcard that looks like it features a totally different library.
Manistee, MI Carnegie Library
Manistee, MI Carnegie Library (L) German PCK card with all the little details--telephone poles, fence posts, dirt street-- left in. Mailed in 1908.
(R) 'Earl of Skibo' refers to Andrew Carnegie's (then) personal castle in Scotland.
Manistee, MI Carnegie Library

1902 Carnegie grant, building still in use.


Marlette, MI Carnegie Library

According to the Library's plaque, this is the last Carnegie building funded in the Midwest. Even though the grant came in 1918, the building was not finished until 1921. However, it's still in use.

The caption on the photo postcard calls it a 'Lidrary.' Perhaps the processor was distracted by this building's clear resemblance to a Midwestern brick schoolhouse.

Mendon Township Library

Mendon Township, MI Carnegie Library (L) I assumed the state of the brick was due to H.L. McClellan, publisher, but maybe not. The card was mailled in 1911.
(R) Now for a little context, from C.U. Williams. A touch bleak, isn't it?
Mendon Township, MI Carnegie Library
Looks like the powers that be were all over the Carnegie grant. Over the door is the date, 1905.
I do not know the publisher of this extraordinary photo postcard. L.L. Cook cards are very good, C.R. Childs captured more of the American Midwest, and this beats both.
Mendon Township, MI Carnegie Library

1905 grant. The building's centenary was November 25, 2006. It's still in use as is, with perhaps a jazzy coat of red paint on the brick.

Mt. Clemens

Mt. Clemens, MI Carnegie Library 1902 grant. In use as an art center.
(L) Advertising postcard, printed by Tichnor.
(R) Unknown publisher.
Mt. Clemens, MI Carnegie Library
Mineral Baths (L) Reverse of card above.
I don't normally scan these, but I found this one interesting. First, it has that Warren G. Harding memorial stamp. Second, the text:
World renowned for Rheumatism, Nervousness and that run-down condition. Open all the year. Twenty miles from Detroit. Write for booklet
Business Men's Association, Mt. Clemens, Mich.

(R) Printed postcard. Its original photo might come from the same photographer who took the third Mendon photograph. It was mailed in 1913.
Mt. Clemens, MI Carnegie Library


Niles, MI Carnegie Library From the card (L):
The Carnegie Public Library was donated as a gift to the city and opened in 1904. One side of the building is almost covered by artistically climbing ivy vines. It is a landmark and a monument to Niles' interest in arts and science.

(R) Wow, does this look like the entrance to a mausoleum!

Niles, MI Carnegie Library
Niles, MI Carnegie Library (L) Delicately empinkened Kropp/Unico card, mailed in 1911.

Plan similar to that of Iron Mountain's library, but the children are tucked away in the basement.

The building now belongs to the Chamber of Commerce and houses its Council of Tourism.


Owosso, MI Carnegie Library (L) C.T. American Art Colored card published by Owosso News Agency of Owosso, Mich. Never postally used, but the number 65440 is typed in the stamp box.
(R) Dexter Press card adds the information that the building was completed in 1914. It has an annotation of Feb 8 1962.
Owosso, MI Carnegie Library

Now known as the Shiawasse District Library, the 1913 building is still in use and augmented by a branch.

Paw Paw

Niles, MI Carnegie Library

One of the last Carnegie grants of 1917, making it either the ultimate, or the penultimate building grant of the year.
Replaced in 1991: now a community center.

This is a fairly recent photo card. To me, the library building looks a little like a Congregational church.

Port Huron

Port Huron, MI Carnegie Library (L) Hugh C. Leighton card.
(R) Tom Jones card, mailed in 1909.
Port Huron, MI Carnegie Library

In use 1904-1967.

What an amazing dedication this Patton and Miller Carnegie building had! Melvil Dewey spoke at its dedication. The building is now the Port Huron Museum of Arts and History, and needed a 1988 addition to continue in that role.


Portland, MI Carnegie Library (L) This is another of those 'pseudo-Blue Sky' postcards that I believe might come from C.U. Williams of Bloomington (IL). Isn't the building quaint? However, the date over the entrance looks more like 1903. Hmm.
(R) The date is clearer on the unattributed photo postcard: 1905.
Portland, MI Carnegie Library

1905 grant, still in use.

The library's web site has a lovely tour of the building. More libraries should have a similar feature.
Bonus: it features a floor plan.
Warning: it requires QuickTime.

Sault Ste. Marie

Sault Ste. Marie, MI Carnegie Library (L) Somewhat plain building featured on a Hugh C. Leighton card, from a Young Lord, & Rhoades photo. Mailed 1912, unevenly divided back.
(R) Curt Teich 'C.T. Photochrom.'
Sault Ste. Marie, MI Carnegie Library

1901 grant, opened 1905, replaced 1975 by the Bayliss Public Library.
Now serves as the Intermediate School District offices.

South Haven

South Haven, MI Carnegie Library

Late 1904 grant.
This unevenly divided was card mailed in 1913. Over the door it states 'Open to all.'
But beware the cannon.
Now serves as an art center.

St. Joseph

St. Joseph, MI Carnegie Library

Late 1902 grant: replaced and in use as a law office.

It's interesting to see on these pages the various ways Carnegie library builders handled corner lots. West of the Mississippi, the building boldly extended as close as possible to the lot limit. The eastern libraries were a little more genteel. Notice the depth of the entryway that comfortably accomodated a (genteel) crowd.

Burkhart Brothers card, locally published.


Stambaugh, MI Carnegie Library

1914 grant. Now serves as school district offices.
On another site, its postcard spells the city name as 'Stambo.'

This is a Wm.G. Hoffman card.


Sturgis, MI Carnegie Library (L) Tinted card from 'White Border' era.
(R) C.U. Williams 'Photoette' card with blue sky tinting.
Sturgis, MI Carnegie Library
Sturgis, MI Carnegie Library I would suspect that this is the last postcard of the Carnegie building. A 1908 date is visible, but those awnings are purely 1950s, and I see parking meters in front. The angle does show how small the building was compared to the size of Sturgis today.

1907 grant. Demolished. The current building is a touch unexciting, although the town has some great architecture.

Three Rivers

Three Rivers, MI Carnegie Library Both of these cards are rather unusual.
(L) Vertical format glossy card by Weixelbaum.
(R) Early interior view with wide white borders for a message.
Three Rivers, MI Carnegie Library

Described by its new tenant as 'Romanesque flavor.'

September, 1902 grant.
Replaced in 1978, the Carnegie building was narrowly rescued by the Three Rivers Woman's Club.
Currently, the A.W. Rush designed building houses the Carnegie Center for the Arts.

Traverse City

Traverse City, MI Carnegie Library (L) Rotograph card.
(R) S.H. Knox card.
The difference in the tinting between these cards is quite striking.
Traverse City, MI Carnegie Library

Late 1902 grant: replaced, and in use as a museum.