AKA: Los Angeles Public Library, Benjamin Franklin Branch, Boyle Heights #1, Boyle Heights, Los Angeles, CA; Boyle Heights Carnegie Library #1, Boyle Heights, Los Angeles, CA

Structure Type: [unspecified]

Designers: Dodd and Richards, Architects (firm); William James Dodd (architect); William Richards (architect/engineer)

Dates: constructed 1915-1916, demolished 1974

2200 East 1st Street
Boyle Heights, Los Angeles, CA 90033

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Building History

This was the first purpose-built library opened in the Boyle Heights neighborhood of Los Angeles. Previous libraries here began in 1889, and library services became expanded and later professionalized from this point onward. The Los Angeles Public Library wrote on its web site of the Boyle Heights Branch's history: "Library service in Boyle Heights goes back to 1889 with the formation of the Boyle Heights Library Association, which offered a free reading room and books at a low rental fee. This reading room became a center for discussion and the exchange of ideas. In 1886 a mule car service had been established on First Street extending to Cummings, so this was a natural location for the library discussion center to flourish. In 1899 the reading room was taken over by the Los Angeles Public Library as its first delivery station, located in the Boyle Heights Drug Store, near Cummings St. Community members ran the library until 1905, when it was moved to its own quarters in a store room at 1964 East First St. Here it was open three days a week under the supervision of Mary Dudley. In that year, she reported a book stock of 1322 and a circulation of over 20,000. By 1910, the library circulated over 25,000 items and the station was established as the first branch library in the city of Los Angeles, open four days per week." (See Los Angeles Public Library.org, "A Brief History of the Benjamin Franklin Branch," accessed 05/17/2019.)

The Los Angeles architectural firm, Dodd and Richards, formed in 1915, designed this Carnegie Library for the Boyle Heights neighborhood, itself founded in 1876.

Building Notes

In 1921, all larger branches of the Los Angeles Public Library system were open from 9 a.m. to 9 p.m. Monday through Friday only. (See Thirty-Third Annual Report of the Board of Directors of the Los Angeles Public Library, October 1921, [Los Angeles: Los Angeles, Public Library, 1921], p. 2.)

Demolished; this Boyle Heights Carnegie Library was razed in 1974.

PCAD id: 18780