courtesy of Local History Office, Riverside Public Library/Riverside Municipal Museum

Riverside, Riverside County

Inland Empire area, Inland Empire region

opened 1903
Public library from 1903-1964
demolished, 1964

grant amount: $20,000
architectural style: Mission/Spanish Colonial Revival
architect: Burnham & Bliesner

South Pasadena   

California's first Mission style Carnegie, was designed by Burnham and Bliesner who won an architectural competition. Riverside library history dates from 1879, among the earliest in Southern California. Lapsed and revived, in 1886 the library was offered to the city which accepted it in 1888. In 1901 Riverside received a $20,000 Carnegie grant. J.W. Carroll was the builder. In 1908 the city received an additional $7500 from Carnegie for an addition to the rear, and in 1920 another $25,000 for a major enlargement. The city was required to match this last with $7500, which it used to build the Arlington branch, not eligible for Carnegie funding because of its co-use as a fire station.

In "Serving Through Partnership" Ronald Baker describes the important role of Riverside librarian Joseph Daniels who founded a school of librarianship there. Baker also notes that reaction to the 1964 destruction of the old Carnegie was a major factor in promoting Riverside's preservation ethic. The site is now occupied by Riverside's Chinese Memorial Pavilion, part of the plaza in front of the current library.

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