San Francisco/Mission, San Francisco County
San Francisco area, San Francisco Bay Area region
Mission Branch Library
In accordance with the 1901 letter from Andrew Carnegie to Mayor James Phelan, promising $750,000 for a main library and branches, the Carnegie funds were allocated more or less one half for a main library and the remainder for branches. The city paid the difference between the main library's Carnegie share and its $1,152,000 total cost. The branch share was divided among seven libraries. No lots were donated and land costs ranged from a high in densely populated Mission property to a city owned lot in less developed Richmond; in at least one case the neighbors contributed to land costs.
Most of the branches have been enlarged very slightly, all have been retrofitted due to higher standards and varying degrees of earthquake damage, and all are included in San Francisco's "List of Architecturally Significant Buildings." And all of the branches still serve as libraries.
The first Mission branch had been established in 1888 and was still in rented quarters when it was decided that the Mission should receive the second Carnegie branch. Land was expensive in the highly developed district. A 117'x65' lot at the southwest corner of 24th and Bartlett streets was purchased for $12,000; the building cost about $50,000. G. Albert Lansburgh designed it as his first of four Carnegie commissions. The Italian Renaissance building is tall and rectangular, immediately adjacent to the sidewalk, and occupies virtually all of its lot in the mostly residential area a block west of Mission Street.