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Detroit library officials expected one or two curious people to show up when Barbara Cohn led her first tour of the main Detroit Public Library last December. Instead, that tour, and each one since, has been oversubscribed.
Next month’s tour already has 44 people signed up. When you ask those who have attended about the library tours, they tend to use superlatives. “It was amazing,” said Wendy Rose Bice, director of the Jewish Historical Society of Michigan. Her group commissioned a private tour — $10 a person, minimum of 10 people — that drew 56 people, not including a waitlist.
“Never in our wildest imaginations could we have anticipated the excitement and attendance we’ve seen,” says Patrice Merritt, executive director of the Friends of the Detroit Public Library Foundation, of the free, once-a-month Saturday tours, now booked through June.
Cohn, an art history major in college and longtime docent at the Detroit Institute of Arts, wandered into the library in January 2013. She was stunned by the art — vast murals on the third floor and up the grand staircase, elaborate wrought iron and brass fixtures, a massive Pewabic fireplace memorializing children’s stories.
Like so much of Detroit, the library, built to rival the nation’s most extravagant temples to books, was waiting to be rediscovered when Cohn crossed Woodward from the DIA to see the library she remembered from childhood.
When Cohn asked for a tour, she was told there were none. So with the encouragement of Merritt, she developed one herself, digging deep into the 1921 library’s archives, schooling herself in the library’s lore. She served as the first tour guide Dec. 7. But she’s trained a dozen more, as the “Wonders of the Detroit Public Library Art and Architecture Tour” gathers followers, a Facebook page, a tour hotline (313) 481-1358, and website (www.dplfriends.com).
Every tour features a few unexpected treasures from the library. Perhaps the most surprising is an 1883 metal inlay cabinet once owned by Russian royals and later presented by Josef Stalin to Charles Sorensen, an early Ford executive, who worked with the Soviets on a 1929 contract to build tractors. His widow donated the chest after his death.
The library, seeded by $375,000 in Andrew Carnegie funds, ballooned to a $2.3 million project by the time it was completed in 1921. The city commissioned Cass Gilbert, fresh from his Manhattan Woolworth Building triumph, to design the marble and limestone building. Mary Stratton, the founder of Pewabic Pottery, created the elaborate fireplace, with individual tiles commemorating characters from children’s literature.
Visitors have written letters and emails to Merritt, thanking her. “We are excited that there’s so much interest in the unique pieces in the library,” says Jo Anne Mundowney, the DPL executive director. She hopes the tours fan excitement for next year’s 150th anniversary of the first Detroit public library.
A year ago, Cohn was a stranger to the library. Today, it’s her passion: She was invited to join the library Friends Foundation’s board of directors, and has been the driving force behind the tours.
Cohn’s been overwhelmed by the public response. “For many visitors, it’s a rediscovery. I’ve had people come up to me with tears in their eyes, saying ‘thank you,’ ” she says. “They’re so happy to be in the library again, and so proud of the city of Detroit.”
More than 300 people have toured the library during Detroit’s most brutal winter on record — a tribute to the untapped reverence Detroiters, in the city and suburbs, have for the city and its historic institutions
For the full article, see Laura Berman, "Tours let people rediscover Detroit Public Library", Detroit News, March 28, 2014.
While it is still available, check out Treasures of the Detroit Public Library Photo Gallery, March 28, 2014.
On March 28, 1977, the worst outbreak of botulism in the nation's history occurred when 59 people contracted the disorder after eating food at a Pontiac Mexican restaurant. The source : home canned peppers.
Though all but two of the victims were hospitalized -- some in critical condition -- through quick identification of the toxin, which was one of the deadliest poisons known, fatalities were averted.
Bryan Times via Google News, April 4, 1977.
Source: Mich-Again's Day
Detroit Red Wings star Gordie Howe suffered a near-fatal injury after he tried to slam into Toronto Maple Leafs captain Ted (Teeder) Kennedy during the opening game of the playoffs at Olympia Stadium on March 28, 1950.
Howe crashed into the boards headfirst and had to be carried away on a stretcher as fans in the stands silently watched, shocked.
It was three days before his 22nd birthday.
The brain hemorrhage Howe suffered landed him in critical condition at Harper Hospital; he also had a broken nose, a shattered cheekbone and a seriously scratched right eye. His mother was summoned to his side.
Emergency neurosurgery to relieve the pressure saved his life, along with some time in an oxygen tank. According to legend, Howe apologized to coach Tommy Ivan.
The NHL found allegations that Kennedy heat-butted him unfounded.
The Red Wings lost that night, 5-0, but went on to win the series, 4-3, and, ultimately, the Stanley Cup against the New York Rangers, 4-3.
For the full article, see Zlati Meyer, "Flashback: Mid-game accident left Gordie Howe close to death", Detroit Free Press, March 22, 2015.
Detroit saloonkeepers are upset with Governor Osborn. During the election preliminaries two years ago, he swore to be their friend, but now is courting those who favor prohibition!
NOW KNOW GOVERNOR'S TREACHERY: SALOONKEEPERS OF DETROIT, SINCE OSBORN'S ATTACK, RECALL HOW HE SOUGHT THEIR VOTES IN 1910 AND DECLARED SELF THEIR FRIEND. HALL RENTED BY KNOX FOR SPEECH AT ONE MTEETING, AUDITORS DECLARE, HE DRANK BEER, SPOKE IN FAVOR OF DRINKING AND SAID LIQUOR WOULD BE GOOD FOR THE "DRYS." Detroit Free Press, March 28, 2001
Note : The Main Library now provides the MSU community online access to the historical Detroit Free Press from 1858 through 1922.
In 1840, a group of disenchanted Michigan Methodists seceded from the Michigan Episcopal Church and organized themselves in a conference bearing the name Wesleyan Methodist Connection. This led to the founding of the Leoni Theological Institute in 1848 near Jackson, Michigan. Eventually, the school’s name was changed to Michigan Union College. In 1857, the Reverend Asa Mahan became pastor of the Plymouth Congregational church in Adrian. Hearing the Michigan Union College was in financial trouble, Mahan worked to move the school to Adrian. To keep local residents from discovering the hegira, the school’s library and its students were transported under the cover of the night to Adrian where the name Adrian College was adopted. By 1862, Adrian College had a student enrollment of 82 women and 133 men.
Source : Michigan is Amazing
Upset at the atmosphere in Leoni, "whiskey town", the Methodists moved the Wesleyan Methodist Theological Institute founded in 1845, to the more inviting city of Adrian where it was chartered on this day as Adrian College.
Source : Michigan Every Day.
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