Nationwide and in California, most Carnegies were designed by architects who designed only one. Of the few "Carnegie specialists," probably the most prolific were Patton & Miller of Chicago who designed more than one hundred Carnegies in the Midwest and as far afield as Wyoming and Louisiana. In California, William H. Weeks designed twenty-two Carnegies. F.P. Burnham and Burnham & Bliesner accounted for another twelve.
In addition to being numerous, the Carnegie libraries of William H. Weeks, built between 1902 to 1921, span nearly the entire Carnegie period and demonstrate the chronological evolution of style over those years. Three of his earlier commissions, in 1902, 1903, and 1904, were in the Romanesque style, while another, his 1903 design for Watsonville, was an elaborate variation on the triumphal arch theme. From 1906 through 1911 he designed eight Classical Revival Carnegies, of which seven were the temple style, and one Spanish Revival building. Between 1913 and 1921 he built seven Classical Revival libraries, two in the triumphal arch style and five in the more minimalist style, as well as two Craftsman cottage libraries.
Eighteen of the twenty-two Weeks' Carnegies are still standing, as is his 1915 addition to Woodland. Six are listed on the National Register of Historic Places. Nine of his Classical Revival libraries are extant, including all seven of his "temple style" buildings, pedimented and columned, mostly of brick with quoins. As a group, these are the familiar "look-alike Carnegies": Gilroy, Paso Robles, Livermore, Lompoc, Richmond, Oroville, and Roseville. Some were saved after considerable local effort. Two of Weeks' "triumphal arch" Carnegies survive: Oakland/Melrose, and South San Francisco. Other survivors are the Spanish Revival Monterey, the smaller Classical Revival buildings designed for Santa Cruz/Garfield, Santa Cruz/East Cliff & Seabright, Yreka, and Orland, and the Yolo Craftsman cottage.
The eleven Carnegies designed by Burnham & Bliesner and by F.P. Burnham alone are all located in Southern California or the southern coastal region and range in date from 1903 to 1909. Colton, Oxnard, and the academic library built for Claremont's Pomona College survive. Except for the Mission style Riverside, all were Classical Revival, three in the triumphal arch mode and eight temple style.
Several cities hosted competitions for the design of their libraries. San Diego and Fresno competitions were won by New York firms, Ackerman & Ross and Copeland & Dole. These early libraries were funded for the relatively higher amounts of $60,000 and $30,000, respectively. Both were in the triumphal arch style and both were demolished in the 1950's.
When after a 1912 public vote San Francisco finally accepted its 1901 Carnegie grant, it selected prominent architects: Bliss & Faville's San Francisco buildings included the Southern Pacific and Matson Buildings, Geary Theater, St. Francis Hotel, Bank of California, and the State Building at the Civic Center; George Kelham designed the Russ and Shell buildings; John Reid Jr., designed many schools including Mission High; Ernest Coxhead is known especially for his distinctive shingle-style residences and churches throughout the Bay Area; and G. Albert Lansburgh designed a number of theaters and auditoriums including the Warfield and Golden Gate in San Francisco.
Of the notable Carnegie architects, probably the best known today is Julia Morgan, whose sole Carnegie was an academic library, the Margaret Carnegie Library at Mills College. Allison & Allison also designed just one Carnegie but their design for an "intellectual park" in the fast-growing city of Calexico drew widespread admiration. Unfortunately, when Carnegie funding was less than expected the plan was severely compromised.
Except for the branch designed by Weeks, the Oakland branches were the work of Donovan and Dickey. Stone & Smith of San Francisco designed three very different Carnegies, the Romanesque Chico, Classical Revival Colusa, and Spanish Revival Hayward. Marsh & Russell designed Carnegies in Santa Monica, Hollywood, and South Pasadena, and Norman Marsh himself is associated with the layout of the canal concept for Venice, near Santa Monica. Benjamin McDougall designed the Romanesque Carnegie in Hanford, as well as Carnegies in Visalia and Pacific Grove, and the Federal Building in Oakland. Brainerd Jones designed three Carnegies in Sonoma County. In San Jose, Jacob Lenzen designed many commercial, civic and residential structures. He and Theodore Lenzen are variously mentioned in connection with the San Jose/East San Jose Carnegie and the Salinas Carnegie. Both Jacob's brother Theodore and his son Theodore were architects, and apparently each sometimes worked with him.
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