San José City Landmarks
East San Jose Carnegie Library
City Landmark #
1102 E. Santa Clara St.
Jacob and Theodore Lenzen
The East San Jose Library, is the oldest active library building in Santa Clara County. Funded by a grant from steel baron Andrew Carnegie, the library was one of 142 “Carnegie Libraries” built across California (and 2,500 worldwide) in the early 20th century. When it opened in 1908, East San Jose was an independent city, but after merging with San Jose in 1911, the library became the first branch of the San Jose Public Library system. Unfortunately, San Jose’s main Carnegie Library, constructed in 1903 at Fourth and San Fernando Streets, was demolished in 1960.
The East San Jose Carnegie Library was designed in a temple-front Classical Revival style by Jacob Lenzen, a San Jose architect who also designed the City Landmark Oddfellows Hall (aka Hank Coca’s Furniture) at Third and Santa Clara, among many other works. The builder was M.D. Green. The library has been renovated twice, most recently in 2009, but retains much of its historic character. It was designated a City Landmark in 1977 and added to the National Register of Historic Places in 1990.
Fun Fact: Beat Generation icons Neal Cassady and Allen Ginsberg once lived across the street from here, at 1047 E. Santa Clara St.