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Colon Township Library

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1914–1915, C. A. Fairchild and Son; 2005–2006 addition and renovation, Daniel L. Cripe of Leedy/Cripe, architects. 128 S. Blackstone Ave.

The Prairie Style design of this privately funded public library differs from the Beaux-Arts classical designs frequently employed in Carnegie libraries. Oliver B. Culver (1840–1913), a strawberry and melon farmer, bequeathed $15,000 to Colon Township for the construction of a free library and auditorium to honor his late wife, Mary E. Sharer Culver (1844–1912), with the proviso that the local citizens subscribe an additional $3,000 for the purchase of land and for future maintenance. Three days after his will was read, sixty Colon taxpayers signed a petition that met Culver's conditions. The will stipulated that the library should have two stories and a basement, that it contain on the first floor a suitable and convenient ladies' waiting room with a toilet, and that it conform as closely as possible to the library in Coldwater ( BR1) or the Eckhart Public Library at Auburn, Indiana. Its exterior is identical to the Eckhart Public Library. C. A. Fairchild and Son, a Kalamazoo architectural firm, designed the library.

The broad-fronted, two-story (plus basement) library of orange glazed brick has a dramatically projecting gable roof supported by open brackets. The highly decorative exterior has broad Richardsonian arched windows in the second story, plaster panels in the gable ends, and skirtlike buttresses above the water table. Green glass windows with a lily motif decorate the main entrance and foyer. Red oak trims the interior. On the first floor was the library room with a fireplace and women's restroom, an auditorium and committee room was on the second, and a museum in the basement.

Cripe of Elkhart, Indiana, created the addition that expanded the historic library so that it functions as a community information and resource center.

Writing Credits

Author: 
Kathryn Bishop Eckert
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Citation

Kathryn Bishop Eckert, "Colon Township Library", [Colon, Michigan], SAH Archipedia, eds. Gabrielle Esperdy and Karen Kingsley, Charlottesville: UVaP, 2012—, http://sah-archipedia.org/buildings/MI-01-SJ5.

Print Source

Cover: Buildings of Michigan

Buildings of Michigan, Kathryn Bishop Eckert. Charlottesville: University of Virginia Press, 2012, 224-224.

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