San Francisco/Richmond, San Francisco County
San Francisco area, San Francisco Bay Area region
Richmond 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.
Richmond, then San Francisco's fastest growing section, was designated for the first Carnegie branch when funds became available in 1912. A large city-owned lot on the west side of Ninth Avenue between Geary Blvd. and Clement Street was made available. Architects Bliss and Faville designed the Classical Revival building of sandstone and reinforced concrete, constructed at a cost of $49,410. On a raised mound in the center of the lot, it is set apart by the grassy slope, and ornamental trees from neighboring closely built structures. In the rear the basement is at grade level, and houses a children's room. Outside there is a playground.