alvah n. Belding memorial library

Belding, MI
Original Construction
Construction Cost
8,500 sf-original
6,000 sf-addition
Completion Date

National and State Register of Historic Places


The Alvah N. Belding Memorial Library is a fine example of the Beaux-Arts Classical Style. Given to the city of Belding by Alvah Belding, whose father and uncle owned the silk mills for which the city was famous, the exterior of the building is Indiana limestone with a green tile roof. The interior contains Georgia marble, Vermont Verde Antique marble, and oak and cypress woodwork throughout.

HopkinsBurns Design Studio began its long-term relationship with the library as Architects Four in 1997, preparing a feasibility study to determine how ADA requirements could be incorporated into the building. In 1999, the HopkinsBurns team developed schematic designs for the restoration of the building, as well as a 6,000 SF addition for improving programming and expanding services.  The services of JJR were utilized to sensitively integrate the addition into the site by utilizing the Flat River as a visual asset.

The two story, 6,000 SF expansion and original building restoration included housing the nonfiction and reference collection, large reading areas and an expanded children’s library. The restoration of the existing building focused on improving handicapped accessibility as well as upgrading life safety to meet current codes. The restoration preserved all of the original materials throughout the library with minimal modifications, limited to the addition of an elevator, a new barrier-free ramp, new accessible toilet rooms and upgrades to the mechanical and electrical systems to accommodate new heating and cooling throughout the building. HopkinsBurns' services included a full furnishings and equipment package.

The project was funded by a combination of private donations obtained through a capital campaign and a loan from the USDA Rural Development program.