Near the second half of 1887, as the Hoyt Library is being constructed at South Jefferson and Janes avenues, East Saginaw (now Saginaw), stonemasons and carvers pose by the developing South Jefferson Avenue porch/entrance’s carved red sandstone arches and columns for this photo taken by the Goodridge Brothers of East Saginaw. Workers pictured wear mason-type outfits and hold stone-carving tools and mallets. Much of the carving is in place, and temporary wooden formwork for construction of the arches remains. The library opened to the public November 1, 1890. The main entrance was later moved to Janes Avenue.
The Hoyt Library website records that in 1882 lumber baron Jesse Hoyt bequeathed the library building site and an intentionally limited $100,000 trust fund for its establishment. Hoyt’s stipulations included his expectations that citizens would add contributions to help the library prosper, that the library would be used for consultation and reference only, and that it would always bear the name of Hoyt Public Library.
In 1887, trustees finally chose the Boston architectural firm of Van Brunt and Howe to design the library in subsequent Richardsonian Romanesque-style (deeply influenced by acclaimed architect H.H. Richardson). Building commenced in 1887. Exterior walls were mainly constructed of limestone blocks from Bay Port quarries and trimmed with Lake Superior red sandstone.
Harriet Ames was hired as librarian in 1888, following recommendation by prominent librarian Frederick Poole, who assisted with the Hoyt library design selection and had worked with Ames previously at the Boston Athenaeum (est. 1807).
Since opening, the library has undergone several additions and renovations, including a 1994 total renovation.