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The Detroit Public Library was the first building constructed as part of the 1913 Plan for “A Center of Arts and Letters” by the City Plan and Improvements Commission. Detroit and many other cities in the United States were influenced by the 1893 Chicago Columbian Exposition (World’s Fair) and the City Beautiful Movement. The 1913 Plan sought to establish a place for arts and culture that would be housed in exquisite buildings influenced by the architects of Europe. Frank Day of Philadelphia and Edward Bennett of Chicago were leaders of this committee. Chicago architect and city planner Daniel Burnham, who was the Director of Works for the 1893 Columbian Exposition and co-author of The Plan of Chicago (with Edward Bennett) consulted on the plan.
Cass Gilbert, was commissioned to design the Detroit Public Library. He also designed the U.S. Supreme Court Building in Washington, DC, the Scott Fountain on Belle Isle, and the Thurgood Marshall United States Courthouse in New York. The library includes Virginia Marble on the exterior as well as pewabic tile on both the interior and exterior. The library opened in 1921.
This is one of my favorite places in Detroit.
Rodney L. Arroyo, Photographer