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Central Library Rotunda, early view
Alternative Title
Los Angeles Public Library Institutional Photo Collection;
Date Created and/or Issued
Circa 1933
Contributing Institution
Los Angeles Public Library
Los Angeles Public Library Photo Collection
Rights Information
Images available for reproduction and use. Please see the Ordering & Use page at for additional information.
Title supplied by cataloger.
Central Library, located at 630 W. 5th Street in downtown Los Angeles, was designed by architects Bertram G. Goodhue and Carlton M. Winslow. Constructed between 1922-1926, it was designed to mimic the architecture of ancient Egypt, complete with a tiled mosaic pyramid tower and many beautiful murals throughout. Tragic fires in 1986 destroyed part of the building along with 20 percent of the library's collection, prompting a closure for 6 years while restoration took place. The renovation was completed in 1993, and the library reopened on October 3, 1993. The Los Angeles Public Library is the third largest public library in the United States in terms of books and periodical holdings, boasting over 6 million volumes. It was added to the National Register of Historical Places in 1970 - Building #70000136.
A view of the Central Library rotunda facing the south wall; it shows the check out desk, reference desk, card catalog files, chandelier, and murals on all the upper walls and ceiling. The murals depict four great eras of California history. These are: "Discovery" (north wall); "Mission building" (east wall); "Americanization" (south wall), and "The Founding of Los Angeles" (west wall). Distinguished muralist and illustrator, Dean Cornwell was awarded the contract for the Los Angeles Public Library murals in 1927, and spent the next five years researching and painting the final canvases, which he completed in 1932. Julian C. Garnsey designed the ornate mosaic-like dome of the Library's rotunda. The sunburst image located directly above the globe chandelier mirrors the sunburst design of the pyramid on top of the building, a further illustration of the building's theme: "the light of learning". The chandelier that hangs from the rotunda's ceiling was designed by Goodhue Associates, modeled by Lee Lawrie, and manufactured by the Thomas Day Company of Los Angeles. It measures 9 feet in diameter, is composed of cast bronze, weighs one ton, and is part of a model of the solar system. This entire area sustained some smoke damage during the fire that ravaged the upper levels of Central Library, April 29, 1986.; For a similar view, see photograph #00043273.
1 photographic print :b&w ;11 x 14 cm. on sheet 21 x 26 cm.
Photographic prints
Los Angeles Public Library Institutional Collection;
L.A.-Libraries-LAPL-Central Library-Views-Interiors-Rotunda.; A-001-731 4x5
Central Library (Los Angeles, Calif.)
Los Angeles Public Library
Decoration and ornament, Architectural--California--Los Angeles
Murals--California--Los Angeles
Rotundas--California--Los Angeles
Libraries--California--Los Angeles
Garnsey, Julian E.(Julian Ellsworth),b. 1887
Goodhue, Bertram Grosvenor,1869-1924
Cornwell, Dean,1892-1960
Winslow, Carlton M
Lawrie, Lee,1877-1963
Bertram G. Goodhue Associates
Thomas Day Company (Los Angeles, Calif.)

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