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San Luis Obispo in San Luis Obispo County, California — The American West (Pacific Coastal)
 

Carnegie City Library

1905 to 1955

 
 
Carnegie City Library Marker image. Click for full size.
Photographed By Andrew Ruppenstein, September 6, 2008
1. Carnegie City Library Marker
Inscription.  Built on the site formerly occupied by Dona Ramona Carrillo Pacheco de Wilson’s two story town house, this building was for 55 years the city library. One of over 1,681 libraries given by Andrew Carnegie to American towns in the early 1900’s, it was built in 1905 by local contractor Joseph Maino, with Wm. H. Weeks as architect. As one of numerous California public buildings designed by Weeks, it shares appearances with Carnegie libraries in Lompoc and Paso Robles.

It is noteworthy that while $10,000 was the Carnegie gift, the cost of the building was underbudget at $9,750. Satisfactory!

Placed June 24, 1995
De La Guerra y Pacheco Chapter 1.5
Ancient and Honorable Order
E Clampus Vitus
Entered on the National Register of Historic Places
1995
 
Erected 1995 by De La Guerra y Pacheco Chapter 1.5, E Clampus Vitus.
 
Topics and series. This historical marker is listed in these topic lists: EducationNotable Buildings. In addition, it is included in the Carnegie Libraries, and the E Clampus Vitus series lists. A significant historical date for this entry is June 24, 1995.
 
Location.
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35° 16.804′ N, 120° 39.892′ W. Marker is in San Luis Obispo, California, in San Luis Obispo County. Marker can be reached from the intersection of Monterey Street and Broad Street. Touch for map. Marker is at or near this postal address: 696 Monterey Street, San Luis Obispo CA 93401, United States of America. Touch for directions.
 
Other nearby markers. At least 8 other markers are within walking distance of this marker. Mission San Luis Obispo de Tolosa (about 300 feet away, measured in a direct line); De Anza Expedition 1775 - 1776 (about 300 feet away); Juan Bautista de Anza National Historic Trail (about 400 feet away); Chong's Candy Store (about 500 feet away); Site of Ah Louis Store (about 600 feet away); “Love” and “Double Joy” (about 600 feet away); San Luis Obispo Sesquicentennial (approx. 0.2 miles away); J. P. Andrews Building (approx. ¼ mile away). Touch for a list and map of all markers in San Luis Obispo.
 
More about this marker. The marker is on the inside left side of the entryway, perpendicular to the front door.
 
Regarding Carnegie City Library. In a short note about the library titled "How Did This Building Get Here?", Joseph Carotenuti had this to say:

"The location of the first building dedicated solely as a library was a major community issue in 1903. Any neighborhood with the Free Library would become the premier city location.
Carnegie City Library - Front View image. Click for full size.
Photographed By Andrew Ruppenstein, September 6, 2008
2. Carnegie City Library - Front View
With $10,000 promised by Andrew Carnegie to build the structure, its site needed to be owned by the City. Needless to add, there were no funds available, so some residents offered donations toward the purchase of a lot. The issue was what lot! Several offers were made, including donated property, but the Library Board of Trustees decided on a $1250 property (80 x 114 feet) owned by the Egans.

Once the site was purchased, noted architect William H. Weeks was selected to design the Romanesque structure. Weeks is one of the most famous architects of the 142 Carnegie libraries in California. He not only designed the only other Carnegie library in the County in Paso Robles but some early buildings for the then-newly established California Polytechnical School.

Today, the magnificent building is located in an ideal spot in the very center of the city. Next to the modern Mission Plaza (1970) situated in front of one of the oldest structures in California...the Mission San Luis Obispo...and across the street from the Art Center and soothing San Luis Creek, the grand dame of the City welcomes you!"
 
Also see . . .  History Center Of San Luis Obispo County. Center website (Submitted on January 30, 2021, by Larry Gertner of New York, New York.) 
 
Carnegie City Library - Side View image. Click for full size.
Photographed By Andrew Ruppenstein, September 7, 2008
3. Carnegie City Library - Side View
The former library now houses the County's historical museum.
Carnegie City Library - Terra Cotta Architectural Detail image. Click for full size.
Photographed By Andrew Ruppenstein, September 6, 2008
4. Carnegie City Library - Terra Cotta Architectural Detail
Remains of wall of Mission San Luis Obispo on Library Grounds, ca. 1793 image. Click for full size.
Photographed By Andrew Ruppenstein, September 6, 2008
5. Remains of wall of Mission San Luis Obispo on Library Grounds, ca. 1793
 
 
Credits. This page was last revised on January 30, 2021. It was originally submitted on September 20, 2008, by Andrew Ruppenstein of Lamorinda, California. This page has been viewed 3,114 times since then and 30 times this year. Photos:   1, 2, 3, 4, 5. submitted on September 20, 2008, by Andrew Ruppenstein of Lamorinda, California. • Kevin W. was the editor who published this page.

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May. 29, 2024