By David Fleet
Goodrich-A century and half old landmark will soon have some much needed repair.
On Monday night the village council voted 5-0 to OK a total of $10,000 of Community Development Block Grant (CDBG) for the Goodrich Ladies Library museum. The village funds will be added to the $50,000 that was approved by the Atlas Township Board of Trustees on Jan. 7 at a special meeting.
“The museum is an old building with plenty of local history in the community,” said Shirley Kautman-Jones, Atlas Township supervisor. “It really needs a lot of work including windows, walls and repair on the cobble stone foundation. It’s important we keep the historical character of the building for generations to come.”
The CDBG program provides annual grants on a formula basis to states, cities and counties to develop viable urban communities by providing decent housing and a suitable living environment and by expanding economic opportunities, principally for low-and moderate-income persons. Virtual public meetings regarding the use of the funds were opened at both the village and Atlas Township.
The museum building, 10219 Hegel Road, 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. The name ‘The Goodrich Ladies Library Museum’ honors the 21 pioneer women who started the local library more than a century ago.
Carol Powers, a long time member of the Goodrich/Atlas Historical Society said the purpose of saving the Goodrich Ladies Library building was to provide a museum to collect and preserve memorabilia from the Village of Goodrich and Atlas Township.
“’Good Books are the best of friends’” was the thought that prompted the pioneer women to organize the Goodrich Ladies Association in 1877 and it is probably the oldest association of its kind in Michigan,” said Powers, who reported the history of the museum.
In 1883, the association purchased two lots with an old house on it in the village. 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. Years later the library books and materials were moved down the street to the brick clad Lyceum Building, 10237 Hegel Road which had served as the Atlas Township hall. An open house for the library was held in 1980 and it remains open today. 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 was the saving the structure. Over the years fundraisers have been conducted to save the old building but more work is needed due to the age of the building.
Kautman-Jones said bids for the projects for the museum repairs will begin this spring.