Carnegie Libraries in the
Mission/Spanish, Colonial Revival
The Mission style was a significant California statement, an
indigenous style to counter the domination of east coast influences, strongly
advocated by Charles Fletcher Lummis and Willits Polk before the turn of the
century. The Spanish Colonial Revival is associated with the work of Bertram
Goodhue at the 1915 Panama-California Exposition.
The two styles share many characteristics: arches, usually
semicircular, sometimes segmental, without moldings; tiled roofs, low
pitched, hipped or gable with curvilinear gable ends, or behind parapets;
walls plastered. Frequently there are balconies, towers, or turrets, capped
by domes or tiled pyramid roofs; less frequently, there is sculptural
ornament. In the Spanish Revival, there are fewer arches, more
ornamentation, and often a variety of textures. In most of the twenty-seven
California Carnegies of these styles, Spanish or Mission details are mixed
with Classical elements.
Of the extant buildings, those most clearly Mission in style are
Woodland, St. Helena, Monterey, and Eagle Rock. The Santa Barbara Carnegie,
several times remodeled, more closely exemplifies the Spanish Revival.
Extant Carnegies incorporating Classical detail with Mission and Spanish
elements are Mills College, Pacific Grove, Dixon, Corning, San Anselmo,
Exeter, Oakland/23rd Street, Oakdale, and (as originally planned) Calexico.
Riverside, Santa Ana, and Hayward, completed between 1903 and 1906
and all since demolished, incorporated towers with domed and pyramidoidal
roofs, balconies, arches, and curvilinear gable ends, and were much more
exuberant representatives of Mission style than any that remain. Also no
longer standing is a slightly larger group incorporating Classical detail
with Mission and Spanish elements: Los Gatos, Palo Alto, Visalia, Selma,
Fullerton, Porterville, Coalinga, Inglewood, Chula Vista, and Concord.
Two libraries originally constructed in other styles now exemplify the
Mediterranean Revival style: the 1905 Romanesque Chico, after extensive
remodeling in 1939; and the 1908 Classical Revival South Pasadena as
remodeled in 1930.