Architect’s feasibility study OK’d historic Ladies Library Museum

By David Fleet
Goodrich— On Monday, the Goodrich Village Council voted 4-0 to authorize H2A Architects to conduct a feasibility study of the historic Ladies Library museum. The study is expected to take about 20-25 hours to complete, at a cost $3,500 with $2,500 of the fees provided pro-bono. The final cost will be $1,000. Village Council President Keith Walworth was absent with notice.
“We seek to repair the foundation of the Ladies museum which is crumbling,” said Sheri Wilkerson, village administrator/clerk. “The walls are caving in also, there are major issues. We decided on a feasibility study because we did not want to throw good money at something that was not able to be fixed. This will let us know where to go with the museum. This will be an ongoing project over the next few years.”
The Ladies Library is the responsibility of the Village of Goodrich. A series of grants have been committed to work on the Ladies Library Museum, 10219 Hegel Road to stabilize the aging structure. In January 2021, the Village of Goodrich approved $10,000 and Atlas Township added $50,000 at the same time from Community Development Block Grant funds for the project. In addition, the village has allocated $8,643 in CBDG funds for the 2025-27 program years.
Jackie Hoist is a Historic Qualified Architect, and has worked on numerous other historic properties throughout Genesee County and Michigan. Thirty years ago, Hoist was involved in developing the Restoration Master Plan for the Ladies Library. The overall scope of the project will be to rehabilitate the building and include running water and a restroom.
“Each historic building is unique to its community, they tell the story of their community and its people, through their physical form, materials, style and construction,” said Hoist. “They embody the memories of the people of their community.  If we do not put resources toward maintaining and preserving these buildings, we will continue to build cheaper, disposable buildings of little character that will not serve 100 years or more as our historic buildings do, but rather they will be short lived,  depleting our resources and adding to our landfills. It’s not just sentimental, it’s environmental.”
The history of the Ladies Library dates back to 1883, with the purchase of two lots along with the old village home. In 1902, a fire destroyed the west wing of the house, but the books were all safely removed and preserved. Then in 1903, part of the land was sold and money was used to restore their building, and remembering their near loss by fire, a steel roof on the house was added in 1922. The village and township operations have since moved.
The old library building sat empty for about 10 years and the Goodrich/Atlas Historical Society was established in June of 1991 with the purpose of saving the structure.
The museum building was opened to the public in 1998 and has provided a facility to keep the community history with a variety of documents, artifacts and historical photos.

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