Alameda, Alameda County
East Bay Loop area, San Francisco Bay Area region
Alameda Free Library
Alameda's was one of the first three library buildings in California funded by Andrew Carnegie in 1899, the first year of the grants in this state. Its construction was delayed while citizens tried to raise additional private funds for a "proper edifice," and finally in 1901 the grant was increased to $35,000. Prominent San Francisco architects William Wilcox and John Curtis designed the Classical Revival temple style building whose special features include its brick columns, stained glass windows, barrel vault atrium ceiling, and arched skylight. Builders were C.H. Foster and Son of Alameda.
The Alameda Carnegie is located in a busy civic and commercial area at the southwest corner of Santa Clara and Oak streets, across from the historic 1896 Alameda City Hall and adjacent to the Park Street Historical Commercial District. The Carnegie itself is a City of Alameda Historical Monument and was listed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1982. City Hall rehabilitation was recently completed, but in 1998 library functions were moved to leased quarters. Seismic retrofitting and restoration of the Carnegie building are in process and expected to be completed in the near future.