Monroe County Library System,  Monroe, MI 48162

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Dundee Branch Library
18 East First Street
Monroe, MI 48161-2227
Phone: (734) 241-7878  
Fax: (734) 241-7879
Cindy Green, Community Librarian

Monroe News Courier
Wednesday, Jan. 26, 1916

Dorsch Memorial Library

Sitting in their spacious home at 18 East First Street some twenty odd years ago two old people dreamed a dream. There in the still of a winter's evening, as they read from their extensive library beside the roaring grate, they saw, away in the future, Monroe, Floral city of Michigan, with a new modern public library.

Although Dr. and Mrs. Eduard Dorsch, donors of the Dorsch Memorial Library, have both passed away there will soon be finished, according to plans left by Mrs. Dorsch, a memorial that will stand to them as a monument that would be a credit to kings - a building that is for the betterment of the public.

The idea of promoting a public library for Monroe dates back to the time when Dr. Dorsch lived. In his home that is soon to be converted into the new Dorsch Memorial Library, he had one of the rarest and most extensive libraries in the state of its kind. Most of the books were in German.

Old German authors whose pens had stirred the minds and hearts of Germany long before America was born were found there in book form. Teutonic writers of every kind of literature had contributed to the library of Dr. Dorsch until his collection became very extensive. Adding to this the books of the present authors, he had a very complete selection of volumes.

At the death of Dr. Dorsch, about twenty years ago, the books were willed by him to the then struggling library of Monroe. If fact it could hardly be called a library. But they were set aside and designated as the "Dorsch Memorial Library of Books." Many of the books were of a very deep nature as would become a man of the character of the donor.

After that time his widow, Mrs. Augusta Dorsch, continued to live in the old home on First street. She lived about 18 years longer than her life mate, but during her life never lost sight of the vision that she and her husband had of that improvement to the city that they loved. Most older people live in the past, dwelling on the things that have gone, but she had something to look forward to in the future. And when she passed to her final resting place and her will was opened by the administrators of the estate, Carl Kiburtz and Jesse Root, it was found that the old Dorsch home had been willed "to the city of Monroe" for a library.

Soon after the city which really had nothing to do about carrying on the work so nicely started by this thoughtful old lady, turned over the proposition of remodeling the home and making it into a up-to-date library that would be a credit to the city of Monroe, to the School Board of the city of Monroe. They took it in hand, plans were made, and work started on the home.

This was about a year ago. Within a few weeks the Dorsch Memorial Library will be finished. The painter will have given the place the last caress of the brush, the workman the last tap of the hammer, and the stamp of "Finished" will be in evidence all over it. The old colonial house will have been converted into a modern library and the dream of the two old people, as they sat in the same house, that evening some twenty odd years ago, will have been realized. Monroe will have her first library building.

Only a visit to the place can give some idea of the beauty of the place. Many pass by the brick house, with its white shutters and admire the pleasing effect that the ivory paint has had on it, but few know the surprise that awaits them on the inside.

Upon approaching the Dorsch Memorial Library the first attractive thing is the name, in gold letters, that have been placed over the door. A new entrance next greets the eye with French plate leaded glass converting the little vestibule into a very light entrance. Colonial is the whole design from the outside and the same scheme is carried out on the interior.

What more appropriate style of architecture could be used with the large rock, in the front yard marking as it does the place where some general had his headquarters during the battle of River Raisin? On the other side of the walk is a large mound of boulders hiding a well. Inscribed on one of these rocks will be found a motto placed there in Latin by the old doctor which is translated, "Water is Best".

Entering the vestibule a veritable wonderland greets the eye.

From the pure white of the wood work, carrying out the colonial effect on the interior, to the deep tiffany buff of the wall the whole place has received the attention of expert decorators. Entering from the main entrance a large room is the next thing in which one finds himself. Cork linoleum makes walking noiseless and indirect light casts a soft glow over the whole place. It is a room beautiful. Nothing in the art of the decorator has been spared and from the appropriate border that adds a finishing touch to the walls to the dull brass of the fixtures, the rooms are one of harmonious blending of colors.

A large bay window about ten feet long and fully two feet deep is on the east side of the room. It was here that Mrs. Dorsch had her bird cage and the bay window was built; full of windows, for that purpose. Between the entrance of this beautiful window-room the librarian's desk will be placed, and will face west. The room will be filled with tables, chairs and all comforts that would tempt the lover of an evening with books. Because of some delay in shipping, the shelves for the books are not yet placed, but they should arrive this week. Shelves will be placed around the walls and horseshoe shaped standing shelves will be placed in the room.

South from the room, and directly ahead of the entrance as one walks into the building is the librarian's work room. It is finished the same as the reading room and will be a little retreat for the librarian when she has work of checking over books and taking care of the library work On the west side of the building, directly across from the librarian's desk is another room, off of the large room. This will be another book room, and here will be found all of the leading magazines, where the latest in the magazine world can be sought. Appropriate furniture has been purchased for this magazine room.

At the right of the entrance is the ladies' rest room and toilet. It is finished in soft green, with white woodwork. it is one of the artistic rooms of the library.

In all of the rooms steam heat will keep the temperature at the right pitch. The radiators as placed by the Monroe Heating & Lighting Company are fines ones, with just the right shapes and sizes for the rooms in which they are to be used.

Between the two rooms designated as the ladies' rest room and the magazine room, is an arched stairway that leads to the second story of the library. Colonial in design the stairs wind their way to the second floor where two rooms are for library purposes. The rest are to be used for the apartments of Mr. and Mrs. Robt. Hurschman who will keep the building in first-class condition, attend to the wants of the librarian. They will have two smaller down stairs rooms in the rear.

The woodwork on the second floor is natural finish, a golden oak. Directly at the head of the stairs is another book room. Lined with shelves, it will be the home of old records, legal books, reference books, etc. It will be a welcome retreat for those who want to delve into the depths of some knotty problem.

A room has been fitted so that the school board will have a place to hold their meetings. The finish of this room is in buff and it will be fitted with modern office furniture.

The new home of the Monroe library will be finished and ready for dedication about the middle of February if the plans of those who have had the project in charge are not changed. If the shelves arrive the building will be complete for the painters and decorators expect to leave the building the latter part of this week.

About $2,500 have been expended by the School Board in fitting up the place. Too much credit cannot be given them for their work in giving to this city such a building. It was no small task that was before them to get skilled workmen to tear out the partitions and get the building in the shape that it is. But that their work has been thorough and that they have given Monroe a beautiful library will be proven when it is opened to the public on the day of dedication.

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