Project Description

The Redford Branch of the Detroit Public Library was built in 1925 and was located at 21511 West McNichols Road at the corner of Chapel Street, on Detroit’s northwest side in the Old Redford neighborhood. The Redford Branch was named after the neighborhood that the library was located in. The Redford Branch of the Detroit Public Library was a small, gabled-stone, two-story building that was designed in a Gothic Revival style by noted architect Marcus Burrowes. The façade of the library featured a gorgeous gabled stone façade that featured an arched doorway and a massive bay window to the right of the main entrance. The most prominent exterior detail of the Redford Branch of the Detroit Public Library was the inset doorway of the main entrance that was bordered by a series of stone arches. Above the doorway and below the stone arches, a stone block featured three sculpted-stone scrolls that read “AD 1925” “REDFORD BRANCH” and “DETROIT PUBLIC LIBRARY.” The Redford Branch of the Detroit Public Library had a beautiful exterior design. The interior of the Redford Branch of the Detroit Public Library had a simple design with one large room on the main level, which is where all of the bookshelves were located, and a second story level that featured a balcony that over looked the main floor.

The Redford Branch of the Detroit Public Library did well over the years that it was open, but the building was so small that it eventually outgrew the location. In 1971, the Redford Branch of the Detroit Public Library was officially closed down and a new library was built down the street on nearby Grand River Avenue. The Redford Branch of the Detroit Public Library re-opened at that location the following year. The old building re-opened as the African Cultural Heritage Center, which was a museum and cultural center that focused on African-American history.

In 2008, the next door Redford High School was closed and so was the African Cultural Heritage Center. The building has been vacant since. In 2012, Redford High School was purchased and demolished. A new Meijer was built on the site of the former Redford High School. The developers of the new Meijer, Lormax Stern, also purchased the former Redford Branch of the Detroit Public Library. They planned to demolish the former library, but since the building is a historical landmark, the decision to raze the building has been held up in court.

As of 2015, the former Redford Branch of the Detroit Public Library still sits abandoned. The building is still in “talks” of being demolished. We at Detroit-ish are hoping that the building can be saved.