229 West Michigan Avenue

Ypsilanti District Library

This old post-office building is typical of the classical revival style common to government buildings of the first half of the twentieth century. Its design owes much to the Beaux-Arts tradition prized by architects trained in Paris at the end of the nineteenth century.

The building’s current occupant, the Ypsilanti District Library–Michigan Avenue, used to feel like a library that had been made to fit into a former post office. Formerly the main library and now a branch, it reopened earlier this year after a splendid makeover. Patrons discovered a brand-new, completely up-to-date, old-fashioned library in a 1915 building that gives the illusion of having been created to house it. Branch manager Meg Delaney describes this astonishing transformation as “a perfect example of adaptive reuse.”

If you’ve missed visiting the library since it reopened, or if you just want to find out more about it, please stop by today to tour it and to learn about the history of the building and its recent renovation. The Ann Arbor architecture firm David Milling and Associates did the project. Their goal was to make the library’s interior look like that of a 100-year-old building.

When you walk in your eyes will immediately go to the Egyptian/Edwardian frieze high up in the entryway. It is original to the building, and after it was cleaned and painted the frieze “popped” off the wall. Inside, the dropped ceilings are gone and the space is now open and light. As much as possible, original interior details have been preserved. The wainscoting is still there as well as the big windows. And everything new blends in beautifully with all that is old.

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