San Jose/Main
courtesy of California Room, San Jose Public Library

San Jose/Main, Santa Clara County

Monterey to San Francisco area, San Francisco Bay Area region

opened 1903
Public library from 1903-1937
demolished, 1960

grant amount: $50,000
architectural style: Classical Revival (Type A)
architect: William Binder

San Jose/Main dates its first library to the California State Library of 1850, while it served as State Capitol. The city was incorporated that same year. Early forerunners of public libraries included the 1850s library of the Young Men's Literary Association and the YMCA Library of 1867. The latter contributed its more than one thousand books, and its indebtedness of $600, to the new library association of 1872, and in 1880 the library came under the auspices of the city. The San Jose/Main library was located in a succession of temporary quarters; Carnegie funding was sought, and $50,000 was granted March 8, 1901. The cornerstone was laid February 17, 1902 and the new building opened June 6, 1903. The library was designed in the Classical Revival style, by architect William Binder, who also designed the Hollister Carnegie. The builder was F.A. Curtis. By 1908 the Carnegie building was already overcrowded and in 1936 it was sold to San Jose/Main State College. The old Carnegie building served the college as Student Union until it was torn down in 1960 to make room for a new wing on the college library.

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