Due to unforeseen circumstances, I didn’t get to see this Detroit library until the very end of its life, after the walls had been torn out to remove asbestos before demolition. Before my 2012 visit, it had been left full of books and shelves.
It was built in the Arts and Crafts style by Wirt C. Rowland, one of Detroit’s most prolific architects who contributed massively to Detroit’s Art Deco skyline. Larger than a traditional city library, Mark Twain was referred to as a “Regional Library,” and also contained space for social gatherings and events.
(Warning: upcoming nsfw-ish image of what appears to be blood, only a few scrolls away.)
I got there long before it was decided that the building would be demolished. There was an open window in a window well that was filled with dirty card catalog entries, and freshly splattered with (fake?) blood. Is it? Is it not? I don’t know. But I called the cops and the place was quickly boarded up. It seemed less purposefully placed than the occasional hipster/vandal “art installations” that used fake blood as a medium, and it gathered at the edges of a tarp in the righthand corner of the frame. Either way, it kept me away for quite a while.
By the time I did return, the asbestoes had been pulled from the walls so that it wouldn’t be a hazard during demolition. Outlines of the lovely architecture were still visible, but the artifacts left behind had been piled into heaps of trash throughout some of the rooms, and the books were gone. It was gone shortly after.