AKA: Oakland Public Library, Greene, Charles S., Branch Library, Downtown, Oakland, CA; African American Museum Library, Downtown, Oakland, CA

Structure Type: built works - social and civic buildings - libraries

Designers: Bliss and Faville, Architects (firm); Walter Danforth Bliss (architect); William Baker Faville (architect)

Dates: constructed 1900-1901

2 stories

659 14th Street
Oakland, CA 94612

OpenStreetMap (new tab)
Google Map (new tab)
click to view google map
Google Streetview (new tab)
click to view google map

Building History

This second main facility of the Oakland Public Library, originally known as the "Oakland Free Library," operated as a library from 1902-1951. Like many in the U.S., its construction was funded in part by the Carnegie Foundation. A bond measure to enlarge the already crowded library failed in 1933. In 1951, a third main branch of the Oakland Public Library opened at 125 Fourteenth Street. Since 2002, it has served as the as the home of the African-American Museum and Library at Oakland.

Building Notes

The Carnegie Foundation of New York granted the Oakland Public Library $50,000 in 1899.

San Francisco architect George W. Percy (1847-1900), who resided in Oakland from 1886 until his death in 1900, worked on the committee that selected Bliss and Faville to design this main library. Percy's obituary in the San Francisco Call said: "He was one of the committee that selected the plans for the Oakland Free Library, now in the course of construction." (See "Death of G.W. Percy, Well-Known Architect," San Francisco Call, vol. 87, no. 15, 12/15/1900, p. 11.)

Oakland Historic Landmark: 48

PCAD id: 17188