A little over a century ago a powerful and exciting idea was introduced in Cheboygan: The Free Public Library. From its earliest days in 1913 the original Cheboygan Carnegie Library was important to the families and the future of the city and the region. Its role as a civic partner, its commitment to literacy, and its embodiment of democracy were essential to the success and growth of Cheboygan. It soon became a hub of activity and innovation. Most recently, residents from across the region have increasing interest in supporting, improving, and utilizing a new Cheboygan Carnegie. Many have weighed in on it’s potential roles in relation to a range of educational, cultural, entrepreneurial, and democratic functions. These feelings have encouraged a number of community leaders to actively pursue new legal structures and program strategies to begin fundraising in order to:
1. Fully renovate and redesign this historic building – from top to bottom.
2. Open and operate the Cheboygan Carnegie as a reimagined, multidimensional community center.
The Cheboygan Carnegie is a hybrid non-profit/for-profit business incubator. The Carnegie Campus is a catalyst tool and magnet for connecting, building, and growing business opportunities. We are the only venue or business in size and scope solely dedicated to fostering ideas and relationships for business incubations and civic partnerships. Within the Carnegie Campus several new businesses launched in 2018: Explore Cheboygan Tour Company, Play the Carnegie, Carnegie Holiday Bazaar, Special Events and Promotions. Our customers are cross-generational residents and tourists and we have an emphasis on recruiting young families and singles. Since 2017 more than 8,000 visitors and residents participated in Carnegie events. In addition to building visitors, featured programs include more than 100 musicians performing at the “Play The Carnegie” series, and 36 guest speakers. The Carnegie hosted 20 public art exhibits last year. Our project has resolutions of support from the City of Cheboygan, Cheboygan County and Northeast Michigan Council of Governments and more than 50 individuals and businesses. The Cheboygan Carnegie is a unique historic venue with a central downtown location. We are accessible and affordable to all community members.
To restore the Carnegie Library and its adjoining properties into an Art and Innovation campus, as a state-of-the-art, 21st century, multi-use facility. It is to be equipped to meet a variety of needs for the growing and diverse community of Cheboygan and greater Cheboygan County.
The Cheboygan Carnegie sincerely thanks the Cheboygan County Community Foundation (CCCF) for the generous $8,000 grant we received from them. We are so very grateful to them for their support for the Carnegie Campus project.
Pictured: James Conboy, Noreen Keating, Joanne Welihan, David Butts, Karen Robertson, Mary Hebert, Richard Sanford, Jordan Hogg
CCCF is the first ever locally based foundation with the single focus of improving the economic quality of life throughout Cheboygan County.
Linda Rogers & Vince Lumetta
Lanny & Bobie Crongeyer
Michael & Joanne Cromley
Dale & Connie Rieger
Werner Plumbing & Heating
Rocheleau VanSlembrouck Families
Bring It! Cheboygan
Lori & Bill Cleland
Ron Hart, Charles Miller and
Cheboygan High School Construction Trades Program 2016
Cheboygan County Community Foundation
Fraternal Order of Eagles Aerie #1282 Auxiliary
Gritty little town
Living still on the edge of oblivion
The splendor of the woods the lakes
The azure sky
-Bruce Gauthier Toast Our Town 2018
The ability to restore the Carnegie to its original magnificent state is largely due to the efforts of the Cheboygan High School Building Trades program 2016, led by Ron Hart and Charles Miller. Each day during their class time the students marched into the Carnegie with sledge hammers, hard hats, and tool belts – and with a great attitude - systematically deconstructing each element that was not original to the building. This included the amazing feat of constructing scaffolding to the top of the dome and putting ladders on top of the scaffolding until they were at the highest point of the dome. The dome is now visible to all that visit the Carnegie and is unanimously the favorite feature of the building. My gratitude is deep for that class of young men and their fearless accomplishments. They did the hard part of the project and now we will commence with the restoration of the inside, outside, upstairs, and downstairs – hopefully to be complete by 2023.
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