The McGregor Public Library at 12244 Woodward. Architechts Tilton and Githens – along with Burrowes and Eurich. 1927. This is in the City of Highland Park, closed due to lack of funding.

As of this writing, no plans for reopening McGregor are on the table. The Friends of McGregor Public Library lost its non-profit status from the IRS in 2005.

[AIW adds via Carptrash: “The doors were done by a fellow named Fred Torrey in 1928. They are wonderful deco pieces. I have a book about him, and it includes the information that they, the doors, were commissioned by “Mr. Lodge.” I’m wondering if that should be “Dodge?” Torrey did a fair amount of architectural sculpture, mostly in Chicago.”]

[james adds this data: http://www.woodwardheritage.com/historicalsites/mcgregor.library.html

The Beaux Arts McGregor Public Library is a symmetrical-front, two-story rectangular plan building with limestone-clad walls above a granite faced base. The site of the library was originally a stock farm and house. In 1903 Katherine McGregor, daughter of lumber baron David Whitney, purchased the site for use as an orphanage for waifs and foundlings. After the orphans had all moved out, Mrs. McGregor donated the property to the city of Highland Park for use as a library. The library was completed in 1926. The building has architectural significance as a well-preserved example of the Beaux Arts style, designed by noted New York City library architects Tilton and Githens. The library has historical significance for its association with the McGregor family.

I love this place, as you can tell. This website shows interior pics from when it was open..
http://www.goodfelloweb.com/library/]

The unusual coffered entryway has a massive bronze set of doors that has been concealed behind plywood for years. It has been momentarily revealed now that the plywood barrier has failed.

The revealed bronze doors are nothing less than stunning – I am not able to find the artist who created these yet, but I will put a word out to the experts for identification. (AIW, I am looking in your direction here…)

Look at these clawed hinges !

Even the border trim is incredible.

The female figure on the right seems to be holding what appears to be a small birds next in her hand.

The female figure on the left holds a staff that has the Egyptian symbol of a solar sphere with wings eminating from the sides. ( The god Thoth used his magic to turn Horus into a sun-disk with splendid outstretched wings during battle )

Coloured terracotta frieze

Female and male figures at the base of the bronze doors

Created at a time when the Ford Highland Park “Crystal Palace” plant was thriving just up the road – the male figure at the bottom of the doors holds some alagorical symbol of a car with wings. If only the people then knew what the auto industry would ultimately do to this region.

The female figure holds an airplane in her arms.

Look at them knockers ! Actually they are door handles.

Coffered vault above the door – striking and original design.

13 Responses to McGregor Public Library

  • What a beautiful library. As a librian and artist, this makes me really sad.
    Are they just going to let this place crumble away?
    Graffiti is next.
    Could Mr. Lodge be one of the Henry Cabbot Lodge line?
    D

  • In our 50th class reunion the library was mentioned many times. It held so many memories for us. Class of 54.

  • OMG…I’m almost brought to tears at this…such beauty being allowed to rot away. Thank you for your site!

  • Here’s the answer from our freind in NM…

    “The doors were done by a fellow named Fred Torrey in 1928. They are wonderful deco pieces.
    I have a book about him, and it includes the information that they, the doors, were commissioned by “Mr. Lodge.” I’m wondering if that should be “Dodge?” Torrey did a fair amount of architectural sculpture, mostly in Chicago.”

    So there you have it…

  • my girlfriend says that the books for that branch are still listed on their database but they are unavailable. hope the books arent still in there.

  • i would love to have doors like that on my crib here in chicago.

  • I love this place, as you can tell. This website shows interior pics from when it was open..
    http://www.goodfelloweb.com/library/

  • http://www.woodwardheritage.com/historicalsites/mcgregor.library.html

    The Beaux Arts McGregor Public Library is a symmetrical-front, two-story rectangular plan building with limestone-clad walls above a granite faced base. The site of the library was originally a stock farm and house. In 1903 Katherine McGregor, daughter of lumber baron David Whitney, purchased the site for use as an orphanage for waifs and foundlings. After the orphans had all moved out, Mrs. McGregor donated the property to the city of Highland Park for use as a library. The library was completed in 1926. The building has architectural significance as a well-preserved example of the Beaux Arts style, designed by noted New York City library architects Tilton and Githens. The library has historical significance for its association with the McGregor family.

  • “I walk tha corner to tha rubble that used to be a Library
    Line up to tha mind cemetery
    What we don

  • Thanks for documenting these incredible works of handcrafted beauty.
    How long will these doors remain in this near pristine condition?
    In the M C, it is only a matter of time before before some cretins will deface, or remove these treasures.
    so thank you for letting us see what we are unable to witness.
    CLOSE them damn libraries !!!!!

  • well, i know the blg was designed by the NYC library architects Tiltan & Githens, in collaboration with our D-town homies Marcus Burrowes & Frank Eurich.

    what I want to know is whether it took its name from Tracy W. McGregor (or his wife, whatever), since their house used to sit, i think, right there. they willed the property to the city after their deaths, if i remember correctly, and being well known philanthropists of the day, i suspect the blg was named after them.
    [see also http://www.mcgregorfund.org]

  • Right on,

    They are very reminincent of similar works in Woodlawn, a few sets of doors as well as that free standing bronze relief. Same with the imagery.

  • You’ve got me… They are beautiful doors, but I’ve got no information on them… I have asked our friend in NM, if anyone knows, he will.