Cromaine Library


"A good book is the best of friends," the slogan of the Hartland Area Project's Cromaine Library is inscribed on the sign that stands on the library grounds.

The library is one of the few remaining departments of J. Robert Crouse's dream, known as the Hartland Area Project, which was designed to be a "Friendly Association for Community Service" that would enhance the lives of the residents of the rural Hartland community.

The Cromaine (District) Library has served the residents of the Hartland Consolidated School district and surrounding townships since it was built in 1927. It was donated to the schools by J. Robert Crouse Sr. and his uncle, Henry A. Tremaine, as a result of a bequest of $5,000.00 from John B. Crouse, father of J. Robert Crouse, Sr. Tremaine and Crouse added $20,000 to the bequest to erect a library, which was named in honor of its donors. CRO ( Crouse) MAINE (Tremaine).

The Hartland Schools provided the land on which the library was built. Mr. Crouse provided a nucleus of 1,225 books for the collection. From time to time Mr. Crouse presented the library with autographed letters and pictures of the "great and near-great." Especially noted were autographs of Queen Victoria, Napoleon, and letters written by Alexander Hamilton and Abraham Lincoln. This collection is currently housed at the Bentley Historical Library, University of Michigan, for safety and preservation. Many art works and objects d'art were donated to adorn the library interior.

The building, a splendid example of early American Federalist architecture, was designed by Professor Emil Lorch, Dean of the College of Architecture at the University of Michigan.Sod was broken at a special ceremony on December 2, 1926. The cornerstone for the building was laid at another ceremony on March 4, 1927.

In 1978 the taxpayers of the Hartland Consolidated School District supported a bond issue for the construction of a 9,400 square foot addition. May 17, 1979 was the ground breaking ceremony and on September 8, 1980 the library proudly opened the doors to its new addition welcoming the community to enjoy the new and remodeled facility.

In 1995, the library separated from the school district and became a public district in 1997 and a newly elected Board of Trustees sworn in July, 1998.