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Historic Saginaw library celebrates 125th anniversary

Mark Tower
The Saginaw News

Saginaw — Saginaw’s Hoyt Library has been a monument to the strength of Saginaw and a fortress protecting its knowledge for more than 125 years.

The main branch in the Public Libraries of Saginaw system, Hoyt opened to the public Nov. 1, 1890, and is celebrating its anniversary.

“Through times of recession and prosperity, war and peace, the Hoyt Public Library of Saginaw has continued to serve the citizens of Saginaw as a place of learning, culture and community,” a City Council proclamation states. “The Hoyt Public library stands as a Saginaw landmark where it is continues to be a visible sign of the strength, endurance, and vision of the people of Saginaw.”

The library draws its name from New York’s Jesse Hoyt, one of the early founders of East Saginaw, later consolidated with the city of Saginaw.

Though Hoyt was never officially a city resident, he is credited as one of the key pioneers responsible for settling and developing East Saginaw in the 1800s. When Hoyt died in 1882, a $100,000 bequeath in his will was released to East Saginaw for the purpose of establishing a library.

The library was designed by Boston firm Van Brunt and Howe. Construction work began in 1887.

When it opened Nov. 1, 1890, Hoyt Library featured 20,000 volumes, a lecture hall, a meeting room and a trustees room. The library was expanded in 1920 and again in 1960, and renovated in 1977 and 1994.

In 1994, voters passed a millage increase to help restore and improve library buildings.

Supposedly haunted by the ghosts of librarians and patrons past, the structure is the subject of the most recent film in the “Haunted Saginaw” documentary series.