Carnegie Library and Frieze Building Artifacts

Malcomson and Higginbotham
1956; Limestone; Artifact
Central Campus; On and around North Quadrangle

Artifacts from the former Ann Arbor High School and Carnegie Library grace the present-day North Quadrangle. In 1907, a high school was built on the site of a previous school that had burned down. At the same time, an almost free-standing building was built adjacent to the high school and housed the public library, funded by a grant from Andrew Carnegie. The building complex was designed by the noted Detroit architectural firm of Malcomson and Higginbotham in the Beaux Arts Classical style.

In 1956, the high school moved to a larger facility on the south side of town (now Pioneer High School) and the library moved downtown. The university purchased the old school and library buildings and named the complex the Henry Simmons Frieze Building, in honor of a former longtime professor of Latin Language and Literature and chair of the department (now Classical Studies), who had also been acting university president, as well as the first dean of the College of Literature, Science, and the Arts. When the building was demolished in 2007, some decorative elements from the high school were salvaged for re-use on the site. Three column capitals can be found in the interior courtyards in the landscape, and two wall-mounted “collages” of artifacts can be found on the exterior walls – one in a lower courtyard and one on the wall of the northwest plaza. Also saved was the classical façade of the Carnegie Library, which became incorporated in the north façade (facing Huron Street) of the new building constructed on the site, North Quadrangle Residential and Academic Complex, completed 2010.