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Please go here for updates since this 2002 article

McGregor Library
12244 Woodward Ave, Highland Park, MI 48203, USA

The State of Michigan stands indicted of promoting urban decay.

Latest news - Despite  state appointed manager Ramona Henderson's attempt to keep the McGregor Library open,  the library was closed in April 2002.

...In a past email, Ramona Henderson wrote to me:
"...By the way, I think a library is an integral part of a thriving culture.  Given the MEAP scores in HP, closing a library would be putting the nail in the coffin (so-to-speak) with respect to any literacy goals..."

Before - 
The McGregor Library gave people access to knowledge in one of the poorest US urban settings.

Now - 
The State has determined that Highland Park Citizenry no longer needs knowledge

The bankrupt city of Highland Park, embedded inside Detroit, is ringed by some of the World's richest suburbs. Despite this plethora of wealth, the city's beautiful library has been neglected by the the city (which has no funds) and the state. The budget was so meager as to be obscene. 
The roof leaks and no major repairs have been  done for over a decade. Before it's end, their small staff ran on a shoestring budget. There is no money for new books, let alone periodicals, magazines or any other vital information. Their internet access was laughable, consisting of four computers for 17,000 citizenry, the vast majority of whom have no computers or web access.

It is astonishing that a nation that has accumulated such wealth can create a society of such nightmarish contrasts. 
Highland Park - A city set within Detroit - was a jewel in the 1920's to which the people of a nation aspired. Henry Ford produced the Model T here. Chrysler had its world headquarters here. Within the area, residences sprang up, it became the place to live.
Then Henry Ford bought huge tracts of land outside Detroit and left the area. People followed the jobs. Then came the Detroit Riots, after which much of the white population had a slow-motion riot of its own, moving en masse to the newly built suburbs. Highland Park suffered the same fate, leaving it a city of minorities - mostly poor. The final blow came when Chrysler left for the suburbs, leaving the city with no appreciable income to keep its infrastructure going.

If you have a car - and most Highland Park residents do not - you can visit the libraries of the wealthy suburbs and behold their amazing resources. Their libraries are new. They are stocked with the latest books, tapes, periodicals and magazines. Their public has internet access at the library and they can even get dial up access from their home computers, compliments of the library server.

Contrast that with Highland Park's library. 
Is this the spirit of the nation? Should the poorest people with the fewest chances of advancement be condemned to endure such lackluster access to knowledge? Was this what the framers of the United States Constitution had in mind?

Here are some photographs of the once magnificant McGregor Library, before and after it was boarded up...

Before - Dome above the front doors. The entire building is exquisitely decorated in the same manner

Before - Magnificant craftmanship -  front doors to Highland Park's McGregor Library

Before - Four online computers - for  17,000 residents

Before - Front Desk

Before - Central court

Before - The entire library  is filled with architectural craft and sculpture

Here's what it looks like now:

After - Boarded up -  no more knowledge distributed here.

That's it???! Is this the State of Michigan's solution to urban blight and poverty? Close down the libraries of Michigan's poorest and most vulnerable people? If I hadn't seen it with my own eyes, I wouldn't believe it. 
It's simply too obscene for words.



McGregor Library Info:

12244 Woodward Ave
Highland Park, MI 48203
(313) 883-4569

Previous Director: LaVerne Fant Calloway -

Previous director of Communications: Bob Wicke -


Time limited resources:
Monday June 25, 2001 - 6:00PM
Public Forum - Highland Park's Financial Crisis and the Appointment of a Financial Manager
Highland Park Career Academy's Auditorium (formerly the Highland Park Community College) Located on Glendale & Second.
Join Senator Martha G. Scott to discuss the state of our city.
For questions, please call 1-800-SCOTT-78
- Finished - See Article


Articles about the City of Highland Park's bankruptcy:

Detroit News:

Detroit Free Press:

Who's in charge of the Highland Park finances:

Ramona Henderson
Highland Park emergency financial manager
Ramona Henderson Pearson
State Financial Manager
City of Highland Park
12050 Woodward Ave.

Ramona Henderson is part of the Pearson Group

Additional statistics:

Best Places:

Good discussion groups: Lowell Boileau's "Fabulous Ruins of Detroit" Discussion

High resolution of  images on this site available on request.

This is a personal site, and does not necessarily reflect the opinions of anyone mentioned in the resources, or anywhere else on the site.


Stephen Goodfellow