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Wednesday, October 16,2013

Eye Candy of the Week

by Daniel Bollman, AIA
Property: Capital Area District Libraries Mason branch (Hall Memorial Library), 145 W. Ash St., Mason

Owner: City of Mason Library

The majestic Ingham County Courthouse generally dominates the subject of architecture in Mason. If one follows the south edge of Courthouse Square to the west, a short walk along Ash Street will lead to the Capital Area District Libraries Mason branch. There, above the fanlighted main entrance, a stone nameplate reads “Hall Memorial Library,” in reference to Ada Hall, whose husband, Albert, donated funds for the library’s construction. The library, which was opened on Dec. 19, 1938, stands on the site of Albert Hall’s boyhood home.

Harold A. Childs, the East Lansing architect responsible for several area landmarks, designed the building. The library exhibits simple forms and balanced asymmetry. This straightforward massing is contrasted by the brickwork, laid in the decorative Flemish bond. Above, a steeply pitched slate roof is capped with a copper-topped, stained-glass lantern. Inside, expansive vaulted ceilings belie the building’s simple exterior form. The high ceilings accommodate the mezzanine, enclosed in oak and glass, now housing the library offices.

Celebrations marking the library’s 75th anniversary are scheduled for this week. Library staff is asking for individuals’ memories and reflections of the library building. The stories will be gathered into a scrapbook, which will be added to the library’s collection for the enjoyment of future generations. No doubt, Mr. and Mrs. Hall — whose portraits are on display within the library — would be happy to know of the building’s beloved status. To contribute a story, contact the head librarian, Cheryl Lyons, at lyonsc@cadl.org.

“Eye candy of the Week” is our look at some of the nicer properties in Lansing. It rotates with Eyesore of the Week. If you have a suggestion, please e-mail eye@lansingcitypulse. com or call Andy Balaskovitz at 999-5064.

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