Howell Area Archives Digital Archive

Stone Building

A Photograph of a Painting of Andrew Carnegie

The Ladies Library Association of Howell was established in 1875. They operated a lending library from a rented house which was on the back of the square where the present library now stands. By the end of the 19th century their facilities were not large enough to handle the growing population of Livingston County.

In 1901, W. H .S. Wood, a Howell postmaster and Howell Township Supervisor, wrote to Andrew Carnegie seeking funds to build a library. In his letter dated January 9, 1902, Mr. Carnegie’s secretary offered $10,000 for a library building if the village or township would pledge to support a public library at a cost of not less than $1,000 per year and provide a suitable site.

The voters in Howell Township passed a one mill levy to support the library. Four McPherson brothers purchased the square of land facing Grand River and donated it for the library, to be surrounded by park space. This square used to be the location of Howell Foundery.

In 1902, architect E. E. Myers, who was the architect of the Michigan State Capitol Building, was hired to design the building and A. G. Kuehnle of Howell was contracted to construct the building. Through a series of disagreements over costs, the original contractor and architect were fired. In 1904, Carnegie agreed to donate another $5,000 and more local funds were raised. In 1905, Malcomson and Higginbotham Architects of Detroit and C. A. Sauer & Co., a building contractor from Ann Arbor, were hired to complete the building. The opening ceremony took place on November 19, 1906.

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