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Public Libraries of California
Cities M-Z

Marysville, CA public library

(L) This Cardinell-Vincent card is captioned 'On the Road of a Thousand Wonders.' Apparently this refers to the Southern Pacific Railroad.
(R) An early Edward H. Mitchell card, mailed in 1909.

Marysville, CA public library
Marysville, CA public library

Even though the card is sepia toned, this Edward H. Mitchell card is newer than the card above.


Replaced by the Yuba County Library in 1977. Because the original donor, John Q. Packard, had wanted the property and library to be used in perpetuity, per Waymarking, it escaped demolition.

Merced (Merced County Library)
Merced, CA Public Library

If you think this looks like a high school, this was built as such in 1897 to a Louis Stanwood Stone design. By 1920, it was too small, and the Merced County Library moved in until 1976 (another source says 1957.). A 2016 Merced Sun Star article has photos of the abandoned building. I don't know if the promised restoration ever took place.

The postcard was made by Wayne Paper Box & Printing, of Ft. Wayne, Indiana.

Modesto (McHenry Public Library)
Modesto, CA public library

(L) Photo postcard from the '20s or '30s.

(R) Photo postcard from the '30s or '40s.

Modesto, CA public library
Modesto, CA public library

H.S. Crocker Co. card, mailed in 1964.
Isn't it great? The style is similar to many motel postcards of the late 1950s.


This building was replaced in 1971, and serves as a museum today.

Montclair, CA Public Library

Now served by the San Bernardino County library. The building shown on Google Street View is of the same era as the building shown on this Columbia Wholesale card.

Oceanside, CA's City Hall and Public Library

The Library has gone from sharing the city hall, to taking over the Mission style building, to two more branches plus a bookmobile.


Photo postcard mailed in 1947, but probably significantly older.

Palm Springs (Welwood Murray Memorial Library)
Palm Springs, CA Welwood Murray Memorial Library

Still in use, after a stint as a private library. It had a grand re-opening in early 2015. 

Welwood Murray.


1945 linen finish card by Curt Teich.

Pasadena, CA's 1st library building, as a vignette among native plantings.

(L) Private mailing card, sent 1902. Amazing vignette of a cactus garden.

(R) Acmegraph card,mailed in 1913.

Pasadena, CA's 1st library building

Information on the older building from Waymarking.

1890 - 1927, served as a library; 1927 - 1933 as Patriotic Hall; demolished in 1954. Like so many other California libraries, an earthquake--in this case, the 1933 Long Beach earthquake--sealed its fate.

Pasadena, CA's 2nd public library building

(L) Western Publishing & Novelty postcard.

(R) MacFarlane-White Photo card, date unknown.


The 1927 building, designed by Myron Hunt, remains in use today. It has undergone a renovation, year unknown, and is on the National Register of Historic Places, per the Library's web site.

Pasadena, CA's 2nd public library building
Public Library & Chamber of Commerce, Pittsburg, CA

Replaced. Now served by the Contra Costa County Library.

The card has the Mastercraft Pictures attribution, but with the Clear View branding, it's more likely to be from Wayne Printing & Box Co., all the way from Indiana.

Porterville, CA public library

Part of the San Joachin Valley Library system, this building is still in use, with what look to be cosmetic updates. 

In the background of the Hammond's Studio Photo is a Chevy dealer, 

Municipal building which housed the Ramona Public Library. Reprint postcard.



Today, there is no free-standing Ramona public library: San Diego County has taken over service.

Red Bluff (Kraft Memorial Public Library)
Kraft Memorial Library, Red Bluff, CA

(L) Unknown publisher, perhaps Edward H. Mitchell. 
(R) Photo card shows a dirt street.

Kraft Memorial Library, Red Bluff, CA

Its land was donated in 1908 by Herbert Kraft's widow for the library. Notably, she stipulated that there 'shall be no restrictions of any kind, based on racial lines, color lines, or religion.'
Pretty darn progressive.

Merged with the Tehama County Library in 1959. In 1962, the combined library moved to a new building. It was supposed to get a new building in 1986. Unfortunately, it landed in a Safeway grocery store.


Today the historic building holds an interior design house.

Redlands (A.K. Smiley Public Library)
A.K. Smiley public library, Redlands, CA

(L) Edward H. Mitchell card, mailed in 1912.

(R) Detroit Publishing postcard.

A.K. Smiley public library, Redlands, CA

Built in 1894; opened in 1898. Per the library site, the children's library opened in 1920. It reached the National Register of Historic Places in 1976, but California took until 1990 to designate it as a State Historic Landmark.
I can't even begin to guess its architectural style: there are Gothic elements, including a rose window, on one end. I see Italianate, Moorish, and Romanesque traces also. The Library's page about the Smiley Brothers calls the architecture 'Moorish.'

A.K. Smiley public library, Redlands, CA, ca. 1958

Before the 1990 addition, it was 33,000 square feet, which seems low; the expansion brought it to 43,000 square feet. 


Replaced a Carnegie library ca. 1964. I believe that this Mid-Century Modern building was also demolished.

Riverside, CA public library

(L) Curt Teich postcard, mailed 1972, but likely older.

(R) Plastichrome brand postcard with a photo by Ed Royce. 

San Diego
San Diego (CA) public library on a chrome finish card

Replaced the Carnegie building in 1954. According to the back of the postcard (L):

This new building of modern architecture recently completed at a cost of $2,000,000 is located in the heart of Downtown San Diego. The San Diego Library & its 32 branch libraries rank fifth in per capita circulation in the United States.

San Diego (CA) public library on a linen finish card

(L) It's interesting how old many of the cars are in this photograph. Two, near the right side, must date from the 1930s.

San Jose

Built, 1965-1970.
Rededicated as the Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Main Library in 1990. Replaced after a 1997 joint venture between San Jose Public Library and SJSU.

According to Google Street View, this has either been remodeled into a hotel, or else demolished and replaced.

San Jose, CA Civic Library, no longer in use

It's like night and day.

(L) The card bears a pen date of 1973. Its photo was taken by Tom Tracy, and it's a Mike Roberts card.

(R) This Continental card from Smith Novelty and Dexter Press had a scalloped edge and was mailed in 1975.

San Jose, CA Civic Library, no longer in use
Santa Maria
Santa Maria, CA public library on a photo postcard

Replaced the Carnegie building in 1941.

(L) Arrow Photo postcard, no date.

(R) Columbia Wholesale Supply chrome postcard.


Itself replaced in 2008.

Santa Maria, CA public library
Santa Paula (Dean Hoobs Blanchard Memorial Library)

Replaced. Now the Blanchard Community Library. I don't know if this building is still standing.


Greek Ionic architecture shown on a Panama-California Exhibition card by J.R. Brakey.

Dean Hoobs Blanchard Librar of Santa Paula, CA
Sawtelle National Soldier's Home (Markham Hall)
Sawtelle National Soldier's Home, AKA Markham Hall, in Wesl Los Angeles

Sawtelle is part of West Los Angeles today.

Built in 1906, Markham Hall housed a library that might have been open for public use, if the postcard caption is correct.

The tinted German card was mailed in 1909.

Stockton (Hazelton Library)
Stockton's (CA) Hazelton Library, now demolished.

The only reason I know that this building was demolished was an offhand reference on a real estate agent's website to the reuse of its marble.


Acmegraph postcard.


The Albertype card dates from 1901-1907. It is captioned 'City Hall and Public Library.'


The City of Ventura's history site is a tad murky, but the library was founded in 1873. Earlier California architecture can be hard to date, but this just might be the first location.

City Hall and Public Library of Ventura, CA
E.P. Foster Library
E.P. Foster Library of Ventura, CA

Per correspondent Dave Combe, partially quoted:

This card features the 1921 E. P. Foster Library, which still exists and is open to the public, at 651 East Main in downtown Ventura. In 1959, an addition was fronted onto that library. The old building is visible at the rear of the current library. It serves as a storage space for back periodicals, the library history collection, and is used by the Friends of the Library to store and process donations.

The Helen Power Wright Library, on the east side of the city of Ventura, closed in 2009.


This building replaced the Carnegie library in 1936. It was a WPA project, and has likely been demolished. Tulare County furnishes branch-level service to Visalia, in a modern building.

4 views of Visalia, CA: Clockwise; Municipal Hospital, Civic Auditorium, Public Library, and City Hall

Multi-view postcard produced by the Visalia Times-Delta.

Visalia Public Library
Whittier, CA public library

This building replaced the Carnegie building, which was demolished in 1959.
A branch was added in 1968.


The Columbia Wholesale Supply postcard shows an impressive range of American automobiles parked in front of a Mid-Century Modern library. The little pink job is a Crosley sedan.

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