The Main Detroit Public Library

The Main Detroit Public Library, on Woodward in the Cultural Center


Published:

1964

The Main Detroit Public Library, on Woodward in the Cultural Center, is exactly such a place. Designed by Cass Gilbert in 1921, the coolly elegant Italian Renaissance exterior is composed of limestone and white Vermont marble. But the interior is equally magnificent. In Adam Strohm Hall on the third floor, for instance, there’s a triptych of murals on the west wall by John Stephens Coppin called Man’s Mobility (above), a homage to the progression of transportation, completed in 1964. The middle panel depicts transportation in the present time, as a man, his eyes lifted heavenward, gazes transfixed as rockets ascend. Although born in Mitchell, Ontario, in 1904, Coppin was trained in Detroit and lived in the area for many decades. He died in 1986. Known primarily as a portrait artist, Coppin nevertheless considered the library murals to be among his favorite personal works. Directly across from the triptych are three murals centering on early Detroit history, painted in 1921 by Detroit-born artist Gari Melchers. Still more murals, by American artist Edwin Howland Blashfield, are to be found on the third-floor stairwell. His five panels, completed in 1922, are devoted to the arts. In addition, throughout Adam Strohm Hall are stained-glass windows depicting the signs of the Zodiac and the Muses, executed by Frederick J. Wiley, in 1921. These artists must have instinctively known that inspiration and learning, the presumed goal of libraries, go hand in hand.

Edit Module
Edit Module Edit ModuleShow Tags

Archive »Related Content

The Way It Was

Aretha Franklin, 1980

An Hour with ... Carmen Harlan

Broadcast journalist and founder of the Carmen Harlan Collection

God-Given Talent

A local choir sings its way to live television

The Sincere Storyteller

Broadway fans will soon learn, playwright Dominique Morisseau’s work is unapologetically Detroit

Do Good

The Greater Detroit Philanthropy Awards are back with eight new recipients
Edit Module
Edit ModuleShow Tags

Most Popular

  1. Best Dressed 2018
    Pulling back the curtain on this year’s selection of the region’s most stylish denizens
  2. Keeping Up with Sheefy McFly
    The multitalented visual artist and musician is ubiquitous in the Motor City
  3. Gathering Spot
    Eastern Market restaurant finds its groove after a rocky beginning
  4. Excellence in Care: Beaumont Health
    Hour Detroit presented Beaumont Health with an Excellence in Care Award for this extraordinary...
  5. Food Recipe: Barbecue Mac & Cheese
    Vast Kitchen and Bar executive chef, Jordan Gillis, upgrades the comfort staple
  6. Sanctuary for the Senses
    Castalia in Midtown offers a cocktail experience unlike any other
  7. Excellence in Care: St. Joseph Mercy Health
    Hour Detroit presented St. Joseph Mercy Health with an Excellence in Care Award for this...
  8. Deeply Rooted
    Influenced by their ancestors, Native American artists celebrate indigenous culture through...
  9. God-Given Talent
    A local choir sings its way to live television
  10. The Sincere Storyteller
    Broadway fans will soon learn, playwright Dominique Morisseau’s work is unapologetically Detroit