Ontario, San Bernardino County
Inland Empire area, Inland Empire region
Ontario Colony settlers initiated a library in 1885, with the support of William Chaffee, younger of two brothers from Canada who had founded the Model Colony just three years before. When the brothers sold out to the Ontario Land and Development Company, the financial fate of the library was insecure until the city was incorporated in 1891. To solve the problem of a permanent home, Carnegie funds were sought in 1902 but the reply did not come for four years when $10,000 was offered. The architect was F. P. Burnham, who designed the building in the Classical Revival style. The builder was S.L. Bloom of Corona. As costs escalated, an additional $2,000 was sought and received, and the annual tax was increased to $1,200. The building was dedicated April 12, 1907. With the Upland and Chaffee College libraries nearby, Ontario became a pioneer in the concept of interlibrary loan and later, the collection of local history documents. In 1959 the library was condemned as unsafe and a new library was completed in 1960.