The Beal House, a fifteen room Italianate, was built on the corner of South Fifth Avenue and William Street in the 1860s. It was occupied by the Beal family from 1865 to 1953. Junius Beal, a politican and long-time regent of the University of Michigan, was an avid book collector. His connections to the university and the city made his house the center of many social and cultural activities. After the deaths of Mr. and Mrs. Beal, the property was sold by the family to the public schools for the site of the new library.