AKA: Carnegie Library, San Luis Obispo, CA

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

Designers: Weeks, William H., Architect (firm); William Henry Weeks (architect)

Dates: constructed 1904-1905

1 story

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696 Monterey Street
San Luis Obispo, CA 93401

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This red brick Carnegie Library operated from 1905 until 1955, after which it has served as the San Luis Obispo County Historical Museum, later renamed the History Center of San Luis Obispo County. The building has a number of elements associated with the Richardsonian Romanesque Style, seen most notably in the arched front entryway trimmed in rusticated masonry. The extensive use of quoins in contrasting yellow sandstone suggests other sources perhaps, such as Tudor or even Colonial Revival architecture. The buiilding black granite foundations also contrast with the red brick walls, creating a highly colorful and somewhat discordant appearance.

Building History

The building's architect, William Henry Weeks (1864-1936), designed this Carnegie Library and 21 others across California. Weeks, whose practice initially was centered in the small Santa Cruz County city of Watsonville, moved his main office to San Francisco, CA, and became one of its leading designers of commercial and public buildings. Aside from his expertise in designing libraries, Weeks developed a specialty for producing school designs.

National Register of Historic Places: 95000357 NRHP Images (pdf) NHRP Registration Form (pdf)

PCAD id: 3713