Carnegie Libraries in the
Classical Revival (Type B)
The Classical Revival style as represented in California Carnegie library buildings achieves a monumental effect, but in most cases the buildings are surprisingly small. Their classicism displays the community's cultural achievement while their size is a reflection of the population at the time of its Carnegie application and therefore of the size of the grant. Symmetrical, with few angles or projections, their roof lines are generally level, or slightly hipped, and mostly unadorned. Greek orders are used more than Roman, and pedimented porticoes are frequent. While smooth or polished stone surfaces are frequent, brick and, later, concrete and plaster were used in many of the California buildings.
Type B (Greek Temple): The central pavilion dominated by a temple front, a triangular pediment above the entablature and supported by free-standing or engaged columns or by an arched opening.
Thirty-six Temple Style Classical Revival California Carnegies were completed between 1903 and 1915. As a group these buildings received smaller grants than the Type A and were generally smaller in size.
The twenty-one extant public library representatives of this group range from medium sized to small, with probably Alameda the largest and Lincoln the smallest. Alameda, Eureka, Petaluma, Colusa, Claremont/Pomona College, Colton, Auburn, Gilroy, Healdsburg, Lompoc, Willows, Paso Robles, Livermore, Oroville, Roseville, and Vacaville are essentially unaltered, though several have been renovated and interior adjustments made to accommodate new uses. Major additions have been made to East San Jose, Lodi, Oxnard, Richmond and Beaumont.
Fifteen are no longer standing: Santa Monica, Vallejo, Covina, San Pedro, Ontario, Corona, Whittier, Orange, Imperial, Salinas, Santa Maria, Azusa, Escondido, Hemet, and Watts. Santa Monica and San Pedro, along with the extant Eureka, featured domes. The Corona building, which had been on the National Register, was demolished in 1978; no California Carnegie has been lost since that date.