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Architecture History Site Visit Presentation on the A.K. Smiley Library in Redlands, California

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Jennifer visit

  1. 1. Jennifer Knight Architectural History Site Visit I A.K. Smiley Library Redlands, California
  2. 2. A.K. Smiley Library <ul><li>The original building was dedicated to the city in 1898 by Albert K. Smiley </li></ul><ul><li>It is built in Moorish (Mission) Style and was designed by Architect T. R. Griffith </li></ul><ul><li>Additional wings were built, following the original design in 1907, 1920, 1926, 1930 and 1990. </li></ul><ul><li>It is California Historical Building # 996 and is also located on the National Registry of Historic Places (Number NPS-94001487 ) </li></ul>
  3. 3. Moorish Design consists of: Horseshoe Arches Voussoirs Lancet Arches Courtyards Decorative Tile Work Courtyards
  4. 4. Social Structure of Early Redlands <ul><li>Redlands was a democratic city ruled by a city council. </li></ul><ul><li>The city consisted of two distinct groups of people: The founders of the city, who were primarily citrus growers, and the winter visitors, who were wealthy and cultured. Together they numbered just over 4,000 people. </li></ul><ul><li>The wealthy visitors brought a great deal of cultural ideals to the city. They built Victorian Homes and practiced philanthropy, sponsoring the library, Redlands Bowl, and other buildings. </li></ul><ul><li>During late 1890s, it was not unusual for wealthy men to become benefactors by constructing buildings and donating them to a city. The major library benefactor of this time was Andrew Carnegie. </li></ul><ul><li>Alfred Smiley intended the library to serve all citizens, not just the wealthy ones. He stated, “It is my hope and confident expectation that this park and building may prove in the good providence of God, a blessing and an inspiration to the inhabitants of this fair city for untold generations.” </li></ul>
  5. 5. The Birth of the A.K Smiley Library <ul><li>The Rogers Act of 1878 launched the idea of Public Libraries in California. Until then, most libraries were subscription-based, and only open to those who paid for services (primarily wealthy or educated people). Redlands did not have a library of any kind. </li></ul><ul><li>In 1891, prominent citizens of Redlands desired a Public Library. Alfred Smiley, an educator from Rhode Island who wintered in Redlands, was a key figure in convincing the City Council to approve the public library in 1893. The small library opened in 1894 and consisted of two rooms of the city hall building, but it quickly outgrew this space. </li></ul><ul><li>In 1897 Alfred Smiley, with his twin brother Albert Smiley, purchased 16 acres of orange groves near the city center to build the library and surrounding park area as a gift to the city. The library was completed and dedicated to the city in 1898. </li></ul><ul><li>Albert Smiley was a friend of Andrew Carnegie, and may have been influenced by Carnegie’s donations to libraries. Carnegie visited the A.K. Smiley Library after its dedication and commended Smiley for his contribution. </li></ul><ul><li>The brothers, who are considered Redlands Founders for their lasting contributions to the city, were motivated by their love of education and a desire to add to the “culture, refinement, and general civilization” of the city. </li></ul>
  6. 6. Location of A.K. Smiley Library (Geographical Influence) <ul><li>The Library and surrounding Park areas were located on land that was previously used for orange groves. The groves were removed during construction. </li></ul><ul><li>The Library and Park area land adjoined other downtown buildings, such as the Post Office, and YMCA Building (where the previous city hall was located) </li></ul><ul><li>The library itself was placed on a slight land rise that faced and overlooked the city center, and demonstrated its importance to the city. </li></ul><ul><li>The building was primarily built with red bricks which were made at the local brickyard. Redlands had an abundant supply of red clay, which inspired the name “Redlands.” </li></ul>Photo circa 1898: Library of Congress Prints and Photographs Division (REPRODUCTION NUMBER: LC-DIG-ppmsca-15379)
  7. 7. Economic Influence <ul><li>Most of the Redlands streets were unpaved, and a large portion of the city consisted of orange groves. </li></ul><ul><li>The country was experiencing a depression, so there was not a lot of money available. </li></ul><ul><li>Redlands was founded in 1881 by Frank Brown and E.G. Hudson. It quickly became the Navel Orange Capital of the World. </li></ul><ul><li>Soon it was discovered by wealthy Easterners, who built elaborate winter homes and contributed to the culture of the city. </li></ul>Downtown Redlands, 1903 The library is at the end of the street
  8. 8. Philanthropy Requested by City Newspaper <ul><li>Despite the lack of funds, and in part due to the influence of Smiley and other wealthy residents, the city voted to start a public library in 1893. The city was not able to build a library building, so it used two rooms in its city hall (today's YMCA Building) to provide services. </li></ul><ul><li>The philanthropy of wealthy men was becoming more common, and the newspaper called for one of its wealthy residents to donate a library to the city. The local paper printed, “Who is going to perpetuate his name and memory by erecting and donating to the city a building to be used exclusively for public library purposes?” in 1897. Smiley had already begun purchasing adjoining land tracts with the intention of donation. </li></ul><ul><li>Although Smiley was considered a rich man and had several investment properties in Rhode Island, he borrowed the money to build the library and three future additions. The debt was eventually paid off by his heir, Daniel Smiley, who himself donated the children’s wing of the Library after Alfred Smiley’s death. </li></ul>Albert and Alfred Smiley Downtown Redlands, 1903. Library is at the end of the street
  9. 9. Evolution of the Library The library has had several additions, which are noted in the above map.
  10. 10. Works Cited <ul><li>Preserve America, “Redlands, CA.” Accessed 18 March 2011. </li></ul><ul><li>Burgess, Larry. “The Centennial of the A. K. Smiley Public Library Building.” Accessed 18 March 2011. </li></ul>