The Northfield Township Area Library resides in a historic building known as the Dodge house at 125 Barker Rd., originally the home of Albert and Maria (nee Fralick) Stevens, early pioneers of the village of Whitmore Lake.
It is estimated the house was built not too long after their arrival in 1841. Albert Stevens owned and operated, at various times both of Whitmore Lake’s grand hotels; first the Clifton House, and later, the Lake House.
In 1906, the house became home for many years to the family of Henry Phelps and Josephine (nee McCormick) Dodge, for whom the Dodge house is named. Henry was well known in the community as a merchant and postmaster. It was also the home of Pete the Wonder Dog, one of Whitmore Lake’s more unique characters.
After the Dodge family left, the house changed ownership several times and at some point was converted into apartments. Eventually it came to be owned by the Township.
In 1983, a committee was formed to look into the feasibility of providing library services to the community. In 1987, a library millage was passed and shortly after, the then-vacant Dodge house was selected as the site for the newly established Northfield Township Area Library.
At the time, the house was in poor condition, but was was renovated with considerable support from the local Kiwaniannes, Kiwanis, the Key Club, the Northfield Township Historical Society, and many others in the community.
The library opened in June of 1989, with a collection of about 8,500 books and about 650 registered library patrons. Today the library collection has grown to over 15,000 books, 1,600 audiobooks, nearly 1,000 music CDs, and over 800 DVD movies and documentaries. It provides downloadable audio and e-books, more than 100 puppets, computer and internet access, summer reading programs, cultural and educational events, copy, fax and notary services, and much, much more, to over 5,000 registered library patrons.
The director, staff, and library board members of the Northfield Township Area Library are honored to not only have the opportunity to provide these vital library services to our community, but also for the privilege of doing so in a local historical landmark. We look forward to continuing to doing so for many years to come!