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

Designers: Haynes and Oakley, Architects (firm); Hunt and Chambers, Architects (firm); Harold Coulson Chambers Sr. (architect); Myron Hubbard Hunt (architect)

Dates: constructed 1925-1927

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285 East Walnut Street
Civic Center, Pasadena, CA 91101-1556

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This library, done in the Spanish Colonial Revival Style, served as an important part of the Pasadena Civic Center ensemble of governmental buildings. These included the Pasadena Civic Auditorium, City Hall, Main Post Office, and the Library, and were in place by 1931.

Building History

In 1922, Chicago architects, Bennett, Parsons, and Frost, created a new "City Beautiful" masterplan for Pasadena; a grand city center was proposed in which a library, city hall, and civic auditorium were clustered. Pasadena voters passed a bond issue in June 1923 to provide $3.5 million to fund construction of this civic complex. City officials invited ten California architecture firms to design the three buildings as an ensemble. Architects were directed to use "architectural styles of the Renaissance or later periods as found in Mediterranean countries." Hunt and Chambers began the design process for the Pasadena Public Library Central Branch #3 in 1924, construction began 05/19/1925, and the city dedicated the building on President Lincoln's Birthday, 02/12/1927.

Building Notes

Designed by Hunt and Chambers at the same time as the office was working on the I. Magnin Department Store in Los Angeles, CA. This facility cost $551,000 to erect, 34 cents per cubic foot. Fees and furniture added an additional $73,200, 39 cents per cubic foot. This Main Library #3 has been listed on the National Register of Historic Places.


Alterations by Hunt and Chambers, c. 1939. Architects Haynes and Oakley made an addition to the central library in 1968. Seismic upgrades and general renovation occurred between 1984-1990.

PCAD id: 5536