|The Detroit Public Library Main Branch|
Although the DIA is definitely worth a visit, the library is a work of art in itself. The white marble building opened in 1921, six years before the DIA moved into its current location. Architect Cass Gilbert designed the library and was a preeminent architect of his era who designed Belle Isle's James Scott Memorial Fountain, the United States Supreme Court Building, New York's Woolworth Building, and several other iconic buildings throughout the United States.
The Woodward Avenue side of the library is surrounded by trees and lush green lawns, which made it easy to forget that this land was frozen only a few short months ago. A large bust of Nicolaus Copernicus occupies the lawn to the right of the main entrance.
|Main Entrance on Woodward Avenue|
|Cass Avenue Entrance|
Unlike the Cass Avenue addition, the interior of Gilbert's original structure on Woodward Avenue is anything but typical. With works of art spread throughout its enormous marbled halls, ornate stairways and ceilings, and the cool, dry, and silent air that fills its halls, it feels like a museum or temple dedicated to the art of reading.
|One of murals in the main stairwell|
|A view of the DIA from the library|
|Adam Strohm Hall. Photo by Jason Mrachina|
|Landing of Cadillac's Wife|
|The Conspiracy of Pontiac|
|The Spirit of the Northwest|
Surrounding the upper reaches of the hall are a series of four quotes in large golden letters:
"Read not to contradict and confute nor to believe and take for granted, but to weigh and consider." -Francis Bacon
"Through seas of knowledge we our course advance, discovering still new worlds of ignorance." -John Denham
"Books are the most enduring monuments of man's achievements. Through them, civilization becomes cumulative." -Cass Gilbert
Cass Gilbert built a house worthy to hold humanity's greatest achievements and an enduring monument to Detroit.
The Detroit Public Library's Main branch is located at 5201 Woodward Avenue. For hours and directions, click here.