Experiencing Northern Michigan: The Making of the Heritage House Little Free Library

It’s pretty much unanimous that Northern Michigan summers are the best, especially if you’re a fan of being outside, reading books at the beach, going on adventures, dreaming up new fun, and making the imaginary real. About three months ago here at the 9&10 News Headquarters in Cadillac, an idea led to a conversation. That conversation led to a plan, the plan led to a lot of hard work, and now here we are with history in-the-making, just in time for summer: it’s the Heritage House Little Free Library!

Jeremy Zimmerman, maintenance tech extraordinaire at Heritage Broadcasting, designed, developed, and built this one-of-a-kind lending library, modeling it after the iconic Heritage House (also known as the 9&10 News Headquarters, also casually known around Northern Michigan as The White House or the Parthenon) using the original Kysor Building blueprints. Now a stately miniature replica of our beloved office, this Little Free Library will be for 9&10 News staff, visitors, and families to enjoy for generations to come! We’ll have a designated space within the building to house our library and create a little book nook.

The process of planning, designing, developing, and constructing this Little Free Library was pretty involved yet super streamlined and totally organic the way it began. It all started with the idea to start a book club for Northern Michigan! A group of us (Anchor/Reporter Michelle Dunaway, our Human Resources Director Chesney Davis, Campaigns & Events Coordinator Heather Stewart, and I) met to brainstorm books for the club to read and how we could involve the community.

After sharing the miniature Heritage House Little Free Library idea, I invited Jeremy from our Maintenance team to join the conversation. Jeremy offered so many brilliant ideas, which assured everyone this project could be a reality. We started looking through the old blueprints and drawing sketches to see how he could best replicate the eye-catching structure in miniature. Once a concept was in place, Jeremy went to work building it from the ground up!

One day back in May, I visited the workshop where Jeremy was busy constructing the small pieces needed to build each individual column of the structure. I documented the process and joined in to help with sanding down wood block pieces and adhering the faux marble finish to the freshly sanded wood blocks. It surprised me how involved and meticulous the project ended up being! Jeremy’s a pro, though, as you can see by the way it turned out.

Browse through the photo gallery above for a behind-the-scenes look at the making of the Heritage House Little Free Library! So much hard work went into the process (and almost infinite intricate details), and Jeremy embraced the project wholeheartedly. Funnily enough, it’s a big little library! At roughly a foot tall, a foot deep, and three feet wide, our Little Free Library can store dozens of books for employees at 9&10 News to share with each other, their families, and our guests who visit the Heritage House on tours, for meetings, or to be on TV. 

Interested in building your own Little Free Library for your house, neighborhood, school, or community? Check out LittleFreeLibrary.org to learn how you can start planning your design, get involved to help others, or connect with people who love making, building, and reading, too! Do you have your own Little Free Library, or have you spotted one around Northern Michigan? If so, we’d love to see it! Share your Little Free Library photos in a comment on social media (or email them to the four) and let us know where Up North it is and the story behind it (if you or someone you know built it). Stay tuned later this summer for more about the Heritage House Little Free Library!

Photos by Allison Peters, Katrina Small, Jeremy Zimmerman, and Nick Lilly.

Categories: Experiencing Northern Michigan, the four