Left Coast Libraries

 Carnegie Libraries of California, Oregon, and Washington

Separated from Other Carnegie Libraries in April, 2007. Many cards added in June, 2009.


History from Free to All and from Carnegie Libraries of California.


1905 - 1929

1903 grant that was hardly worth Mr. Carnegie's time and money.

(L) Edw. H. Mitchell card, mailed 1913.
(R) Pacific Novelty Co. card, never mailed.


1904 grant.
Replaced in 1982, then wickedly remodeled. Now the Chico Museum.

Edward H. Mitchell card also showing the Majestic Theater.

You don't see a lot of Gothic library buildings in California, and the theater is also a little staid.


1906 - 1978

Vacant from 1971 until its demolition.

This 1907 message reads in part: 'Say there are lots of good oranges here.' Sent to Wisconsin in early March.



Built 1903.

Now the Morris Graves Museum of Art, according to the Carnegie Libraries of California web page. Sometime along the way, the dome was replaced by a skylight. Probably more sensible in earthquake-prone areas.

Written (1905) on the Edw. H. Mitchell card is:

This is on F and Seventh Sts. - right back of the Reilinger house - opposite Convent. - about a yr. old.


In use 1910 - 1975; currently a museum.

Library subsumed into Santa Clara Countly Library, but at least someone had the common sense to reuse the original building. (There is still a Gilroy facility.)

The card is from the Pacific Novelty Co. of San Francisco, and is unusual in its colors and lettering style.


1906 - 1958

Upon annexation to Los Angeles in 1910, this Tudor Revival library became a branch library, the first of several indignities to befall this Carnegie project before its demolition in 1958.
The current Hollywood branch is a Frank Gehry edifice. No hooray for Hollywood from me.

Long Beach

1909 - 1972

Demolished in 1973 subsequent to a fire. This wasn't the most distinguished library, but these are among the better postcards in my collection.
(L) Published by Pacific Novelty for the Newman Post Card Co.
(R) Published by Edward H. Mitchell of San Francisco.

(L) Benham card displays ground cover better than the library.
(R) Not so distinguished as the uppermost cards, but shows yet another angle.
Longshaw card, published in Los Angeles, postmarked in 1959.
Some of the window trim resembles Art Deco design.


1908 - 1956

It didn't even make it to middle age.

Sweet, glorious youth! Flower beds! Pampas grass! Flowering trees! Curt Teich, you tried your hardest on this card.


A Christmas present (12/24/1907, per Bobinski) for Monterey resulting in a library serving the public from 1911 - 1952.
Lovely combination of Mission, Moorish, and the 'standard' Carnegie style.

Pretty Edw. H. Mitchell card, never mailed.


Built in 1902, now the African American Museum Library. Earthquake survivor.

Card published for Owl Drug. Entire back, never used.

Orange (Orange County)

1908 - 1961

1907 grant. 1930 addition. Replaced in 1960.

Unattributed card mailed in 1912.


1906 grant. Replaced in 1963. Now used as an art museum.

Quite attractive Greek Revival building that looks as if there's a lot of wasted space. Good for a temple, bad for a library.

One of Curt Teich's best efforts, produced for J.R. Brakey. Printed on the reverse:

Our post cards are the best. Send our Ventura County Post Cards to your friends.
We publish views of all important subjects in VENTURA COUNTY.

Pacific Grove

Library received its Carnegie grant in 1906. The building was enlarged in 1926, 1938, 1950, and 1978-1981. The last renovation seems to have essentially obliterated any traces of the Mission- style Carnegie building.

The card was produced locally by Chas. K. Tuttle.

Palo Alto

Built 1903, addition 1940, demolished 1967.

Paso Robles

1906 Carnegie grant. WPA addition, 1939. Converted to an historical society museum in 1998.

The card was captioned 'Pasa Robles' by M. Rieder & Co. Probably the German publisher wasn't aware of the error.
It was mailed in 1909. The cancellation was struck so hard that the paper was damaged.


1903 - 1966

1902 and 1913 grants (the latter covered an addition). Burnham and Bliesner were the architects, working in the Classical Revival style.

PCK (Paul C. Koeber Co.) card issued during the 1907 transition period. The street looks like it's in the middle of some hefty repairs.


1908 - 1947

1907 grant. Condemned in 1947. Six long years before the new library was built.

Very unusual architecture combining the native Mission style with Romanesque features. This picture was probably made shortly after the building was finished.


Fantastic Spanish Mission style library in Riverside, torn down in 1964. At least it reached its 60 year anniversary, by a single year.
(L) Card dated between 1907 and 1911, produced by Paul C. Koeber Co. of New York City and Kircheim, Germany.
(R) Card post-1907. Attribution: 'Post Cards of Quality - The Albertype Co., Brooklyn, N.Y.' Just exquisite.

Carnegie Library, Riverside, Cal.
Visited by President Roosevelt

This M. Reider card is the oldest of the three, mailed in 1904. Due to damage, the scan was cropped on the right side.

I have several more Riverside cards that I haven't posted yet.

 San Diego

1902 - 1952

Built from an 1899 grant.
The photo card's picture was more than a little askew. I tried as much as possible to help it.

Although the library shares a site with the city, it has managed to produce a fantastic omnibus site for people like me.
The propsed new building looks like the Bahai temple in Wilmette, Illinois. Neat.

San Francisco

Italian Renaissance Beaux Arts building stemming from a 1901 grant. Built 1917. Looks like they had a little delay along the way. Some sort of earthquake, I'd guess.

Photo card dates from the 1930s. I believe that the skyscraper is the Russ Building, built in 1927.

Currently the Asian Art Museum.

San Luis Obispo

Built 1905. Considered to be Romanesque.

Card published by the Pacific Novelty Co.

Currently County Historical Society's Museum. Nice reuse.

San Pedro

Built after a 1905 Carnegie grant, subsequently demolished.

Santa Ana

1903 - 1960

Mission (Spanish Colonial) style building that no-one apparently felt was important enough to preserve, long before current building codes would have put the kibosh on the bell towers.

Santa Rosa

1904 - 1964

This was a rare Romanesque Carnegie building, damaged in the 1906 earthquake (earning a second grant), and condemned in 1960. It took 54 years to figure out that it was unsafe?

After a hiatus in temporary quarters, the new building was erected on the same site in 1967.

The card was postmarked in 1905.


1905 - 1963

Even worse life span than Santa Rosa (above).
I can't figure out what style this building is. The entry isn't quite Classical Revival, and the carved signage isn't quite Mission style. Carnegie Libraries of California calls it Classical Revival Type A.

Strangely, this card was printed in Indiana by Ft. Wayne Box & Printing. The silver border (more likely, aluminum) style is much more common in midwestern postcards.


In public library service from 1916 to 1968, and today is Turlock's Community Arts Center.

The card, by Pacific Novelty of San Francisco, was mailed in the 1920s.


Built with a 1905 grant: still in use (rare among California Carnegie libraries).

Unusual card style with an attractive self-framing border.


Much of the Carnegie information came from an OLA (Oregon Library Association) article no longer online.

Baker City

Built 1909.
Being renovated for the Carnegie Arts and Cultural Center.

This card's picture leaves a lot to be desired.


Late 1903 Carnegie grant. Building no longer in use.

Hood River

1912 Carnegie grant. Still in use with a massive addition.

Real photo post card with no date information. However, the American flag does have 48 stars, narrowing it down slightly.

La Grande

1913 grant. Large building, replaced in 2006.
Fate unknown.

Black and White brand postcard, possibly attributed to Curt Teich & Co.

Portland (Multnomah County Library)

Oldest library (1864) west of the Mississippi. It recieved 7 Carnegie grants total, beginning in 1901.

The Central Library appears on these cards. It was built in 1913 and heavily renovated in 1994-1997. It's still in use.

The Dalles

Not Dalles. The Dalles.

1907 Carnegie grant. Built in 1910 according to a rather spiffy little Wikipedia site. I include it because of its great picture.

The Carnegie building is replaced as a library, but is currently an arts center.

The library continues as the Dalles-Wasco County Library.

The card has the notation, 'On the Line of the O.-W. R. & N.', and is published by the Pacific Novelty Co.



Built from a 1903 grant. It looks as if this may have been the 12th Street (Fairhaven) location, finished in 1904, and in current need of masonery repairs. (The central location was replaced in 1951.) Either the card was malcolored or they've painted it. If this was the original color, I can understand why they painted it.


1909 - 1967

Carnegie building replaced in 1966.

Sepia tinted card by the Pacific Novelty Co.


Late (1913) grant.

On photo card as Carnegie Library - Rentin. Not visible on the scan, unless you're Superman, is an early gas station. Hanging from its canopy is a round sign, possibly for Standard Oil of California.
Odd library style: not really Prairie, not really Federal, either. No longer in use: probably demolished because it was not really distinguished.


1906 grant. Still in use! (Open 31 hours per week.)

Tiny Carnegie building with bunting around a window and near the entrance.
In the background of this Sprouse &: Son German card is the Adams County Court House.

Initial (1902) collection of books and photographs donated by Daniel Buchanan.


I like your pluck.

--Andrew Carnegie, pertaining to the 1901, post-fire, grant request

Although I don't yet have the figures to prove it, I suspect the 1901 Seattle Carnegie library was one of the nation's largest. The grant, which included the branch libraries, totalled $430,000.
Unfortunately, the building is one of the least attractive, on this card (R) sent 1911. A wonderful history of the Seattle system is given on the SPL site.


According to the Spokane Public Library's website, this Carnegie library was built in 1904 and outgrown in 1961. The building is still standing, but its current function is undisclosed.

© 2003-9 Judy Aulik
Uploaded: 07 April 2007.
Updated: 19 August 2009.
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