Gilroy, Santa Clara County
Monterey to San Francisco area, Central Coast region
Gilroy Historical Museum
195 Fifth Street
Gilroy, CA 95020
Public library from 1910-1975
currently a museum
grant amount: $10,000
architectural style: Classical Revival (Type B)
architect: W. H. Weeks
The Gilroy Carnegie library was the first of William H. Weeks' seven "classic Carnegies" of the Greek temple style, with pediments and columns. The interior is recognized for its central octagonal rotunda and patented skylight. At the corner of Fifth and Church streets in a tree shaded residential neighborhood, it is located near the historic downtown. It was listed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1988.
Gilroy's 1876 library was short lived. Then in 1905, another library was established and in February 1906, the Library Trustees applied to Andrew Carnegie for a grant of $10,000, which was approved. A temporary library space opened in City Hall in 1907 with volumes from the Ladies' Reading Circle. Mrs. Benn, the public school librarian became the librarian of the Gilroy Public Library. Land for the new Carnegie Library was purchased with a gift of $1000 by local philanthropist Caroline Hoxett. On August 17, 1909 plans submitted by William Weeks were accepted by the Library Trustees and forwarded to Mr. Carnegie for approval. The builder, H.J. Wood came from Watsonville, as did Weeks. On July 27, 1910, the newly completed Carnegie Library opened its doors with a musicale and punch reception at 8 p.m. Except for new stairs added in 1937 and also designed by Weeks, the building is virtually unchanged and after its library service, became Gilroy's Historical Museum.