Know Your City no. 84 – former Carnegie Library
Feb. 7, 1956: The former Carnegie Library served San Pedro from 1906-1923.
This John Malmin photo appeared in the Feb. 9, 1956 Los Angeles Times as part of the Know Your City photography series. The original caption reported:
KNOW YOUR CITY, NO.84– There shouldn’t be much doubt as to WHERE this is, thus leaving you only the problem of WHAT it is. It has quite a history, dating back to about 1906. Maybe that dome will help. Answer, Page 13, Part ll.
ANSWER: Building in the photo–with the main channel of Los Angeles Harbor in the background–is the San Pedro Chamber of Commerce at 820 S Beacon St., San Pedro. Building was originally a Carnegie library and, once upon a time, served as San Pedro’s temporary City Hall. Photo was made from roof of U.S. Post Office and Customs House.
Additional information from the Carnegie Libraries web site reports:
The earliest San Pedro Library building, dating from 1888, was the work of the Literary Association of San Pedro. As the site of the Port of Los Angeles, San Pedro and its library needs grew rapidly. Carnegie funds were sought in 1905; $10,000 was granted, followed by a supplementary $375 from Carnegie and $500 from the city. Architects Edelsvard and Saffell, as well as H. V.Bradbeer, have been credited with the design of the Classical Revival style building.
In 1909 San Pedro was annexed to Los Angeles. During the first world war, the San Pedro branch was noted for its service to ships, for which it was recognized by the American Library Association. By 1922 the Carnegie was outgrown; a new library completed in 1924 was subsequently replaced in 1948 and again in 1983. Meanwhile, in 1922, the city had ordered that Beacon Street be lowered by 14 feet, and the Carnegie was gently lowered after it. The old Carnegie next housed the Chamber of Commerce and then the Seamen’s Library. It was demolished in 1966 to make way for the Maritime Industry Memorial.
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