Albion Interactive History / Gassette Memorial Library

Albion Interactive History

Albion Interactive History / Buildings / Albion College

Gassette Memorial Library, June 18, 1902
    Demolished Summer 1998

Block +
US Census Block # 34-118

Historic Designation +
Albion Area Historical Architectural Survey, 1985

Administration Building was originally constructed as the Lottie L. Gassette Memorial Library in 1902. The interior of the structure has been rebuilt and now houses College administrative offices, including those of the president, the business offices, academic affairs, student life, financial aid and the registrar. (1998-99 Albion College Academic Catalog)

The seventh structure on campus was the Gassette Memorial Library. Funds for it were given by Mrs. Charlotte T.Gassette of Albion. The building was named for her daughter who had died by the time the funds were donated. The college catalog for 1900-1901 shows that it was the intention of the institution to start work on the new structure before June 1, 1901. The next catalog, that for 1901-1902, indicated the expectation that the Gassette library would be dedicated June 18, 1902. The contract for building the Gassette structure was granted to William Loder of Albion who had agreed to do the work for $9,900. The building eventually cost the college $12,350.44. Mrs. Gassette provided $10,000 and the Smart and Knapp Alcove Funds provided $2,350.44. Dr. Dickie said the building alone cost the college $10,077.80 and that the rest of its total cost included “furnishings, grading, seeding, sodding.” The architect was W.D. Butterfield.

As might be expected the facilities of the college library under Miss Ball and during the Dickie presidency increased extensively. In 1901, the year Dr. Dickie became president, a college catalog reveals the library contained 13,800 bound volumes and 5,000 “unbound volumes and pamphlets.” This meant that about 1,000 bound volumes had been added in one year. By 1909, the library contained 18,500 books, and another six years brought that total up to 23,500. Bound volumes by 1921, the last year of Dr. Dickie’s administration, totaled 26,000. The catalog for the period gives no figure for unbound volumes and pamphlets. Thus, in 20 years, the number of college library books increased by 12,200. This meant that the librarypossessed in 1921 almost double the number of books it contained in 1901.

With completion of the Stockwell Memorial Library in 1938, books were removed from the Gassette Memorial Library, and it was converted for administrative offices and offices of the alumni association.Summer 1998 the building was demolished and the site remained vacant untilSpring 2000 when construction of the Ferguson administration building wasannounced.

Source: Gildart, Robert. Albion College, 1835-1960, A History. Chicago: Donnelley Lakeside Press, 1961.

From the Albion College Archives

Administration Building (Previously Lottie L. Gassette Memorial Library)

In 1901, W.D. Butterfield of Detroit was the architect selected by the College Building Committee to furnish plans for the Lottie L. Gassette Memorial Building. Mrs. Charlotte T. Gassette made the gift for the library to the College as a memorial to her deceased daughter, a former student at Albion. Lottie Gassette left Albion during her junior year to work in a normal school in the west. After completing her work there, she held positions as principal in the high schools of Leavenworth, Kansas; Omaha, Nebraska; Cedar Rapids and Marshall, Iowa. She died in 1899.

The library had previously been housed in the Central Building. The new site was located between the chapel and the McMillan Laboratory, with the building’s main front towards Porter Street.

The S.O. Knapp Alcove was added to the building through funds donated by Mrs. S.O. Knapp of Jackson, whose husband had been a well-known citizen of Albion; as well as the James S. Smart Alcove, a gift from Mrs. Louise Soule of Stockbridge. Only a small amount of the money they donated to the College was necessary for the alcoves, so the remainder of the funds were used in fitting out the library with furniture. Everything in the building was to be new, including bookcases, tables, chairs and reading desk.

The dedication of the Library was attended by Mrs. Gassette; President Dickie; Reverend W.T. Jacquess; Rev. John Graham of Grand Rapids and Reverend Levi Master of Big Rapids, both trustees of the College; Honorable Horace Hitchcock of Detroit, president of the Board of Trustees; and Mr. H.H. Johnson of the senior class. The Class of 1898 presented an elaborate card catalogue to be placed in the library.

In 1923, the ground floor furniture was rearranged and a stack room was added on the central balcony, providing twice the reading room. Four 300-watt ceiling lamps and a new cement floor in the east half of the basement were also added.

In 1927, several hundred dollars were spent to make improvements on the library: a downstairs study room was completely renovated and equipped with six large windows, heating and lighting equipment and tables and chairs for more than 70 students. In addition, a new stairway to the study room was built. Also in 1927, Librarian Rose Ball voiced a need for an expansion of the library in order to better serve the departments on campus. The enlargement of the library was estimated at $15,000 in 1927, but it was never built.

Final chapter, Workmen from Bierlein Demolition and Dismantling of Midland closed the book on Albion College’s Lottie L. Gassette Memorial Library this week. The building, home of the college’s administration offices, is being razed to make room for a new Student, Technology and Administrative Services building. The new structure is expected to be completed in two years.

The Lottie L. Gassette Memorial Library was used until 1938, when the Stockwell Memorial Library was completed.

From the Albion College Archives History Files

In 1998, the building was razed to make way for the new Student, Technology, and Administrative Services building, Ferguson.

All photographs from the Albion College Archives Postcard Collection, unless otherwise noted.


See also:

Jentoft, Amy. (1996, November 1). “More campus repairs; Administration building one of several projects.” Pleiad. Retrieved March 30, 2003,

Little, Rebecca. (1998, April 17). “A building with history…” Pleiad. Retrieved 11 June 2003,

Source: Albion College Archives, 2003 [Downloaded July 3, 2003]

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