John C. Fremont Branch Library


John C. Fremont Branch Library

John C. Fremont Branch Library is a branch library of the Los Angeles Public Library system in Los Angeles, CA, located in close proximity to the Hancock Park district. It was built in 1927 based on the Mediterranean Revival design by architect Merl L. Baker. Its history dates back to 1912 when the "Colegrove Station" Reading Room was opened in a storefront at the corner of Vine Street and Santa Monica Boulevard by a group of residents. In 1916, the reading room became part of the city's library system as a sub-banch operated as part of the Hollywood Branch Library.


Construction of the new branch began in December 1926 and was completed in May 1927. Named for the conqueror of California and its first US Senator, Maj. General John Charles Frémont, this beautiful Spanish Colonial Revival library features an L-shaped plan with a cylindrical colonnaded entrance. A series of concrete steps lead up to a set of tiled stairs which curve up to the entry. The large piers supporting the portico are of a formal order. They are scored to appear like stone and terminate in decorative capitals with corbels. Above the piers is a narrow string course and the name of the library surrounding a cartouche of the city seal. A pair of paneled wood doors leads into the library's interior which features a single, large room with a central charging desk. Wood truss beams across the ceiling are stained a dark brown and add a touch of Mediterranean styling to the building's interior.


The John C. Fremont Branch was designated a Historic-Cultural Monument (No.303) by the Los Angeles Cultural Heritage Commission in 1986. In 1987, along with several other branch libraries in Los Angeles it was placed on the U.S. National Register of Historic Places in a thematic group submission.


The historic building of the John C. Fremont Branch Library was closed in 1990 in compliance with the Los Angeles City Building and Safety Commission’s earthquake hazard reduction order: the branch’s masonry was unreinforced and did not meet seismic safety codes. Temporary quarters were set up at 736 N. La Brea Avenue. The branch was reopened at its historic location on March 26, 1996. Among the improvements to the building were the addition of a meeting room, a small parking lot, air conditioning, wiring for computer and Internet access, and access for the disabled. The architectural firm M2A and the branch received an award of Design Excellence from the Los Angeles Board of Cultural Affairs Commissioners in 1997 and a Historic Preservation Award of Excellence from the Los Angeles Cultural Heritage Commission in 1998.


Address: 6121 Melrose Avenue, Los Angeles, CA 90038


Website: http://www.lapl.org/branches/john-c-fremont


Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/pages/John-C-Fremont-Branch-Library-Los-Angeles-Public-Library/1379821178905155?ref=stream


Branch History: http://www.lapl.org/branches/john-c-fremont/history


Status: Active


Additional Resources

City of Los Angeles, Department of City Planning (2007, September 7). Historic-Cultural Monuments (HCM) Listing: City Declared Monuments.

Exterior view of the John C. Fremont branch of the Los Angeles Public Libraryy, [s.d.]. USC Digital Library. USC Libraries Special Collections.

Figenshow, S., Morris McNeill, Inc., & Los Angeles (Calif.). (1990). Historic cultural monuments: A review of historical monuments to identify potential cultural facilities. Los Angeles, CA.: City of Los Angeles, Cultural Affairs Dept.

Front entrance to the John C. Fremont Branch of the Los Angeles Public Library, 1930. USC Digital Library. USC Libraries Special Collections.

John C. Fremont Branch Library History, 1949-1959.

Los Angeles Public Library. (1996). Grand Opening Celebration for the John C. Fremont Branch, March 25, 1996.

Los Angeles Public Library. (1987). John C. Fremont Branch 60th Anniversary Celebration, June 7, 1987.

McGrew, P., & Julian, R. (1994). Landmarks of Los Angeles. New York, NY: H.N. Abrams.

Soter, B. D., Muench, J., & Library Foundation of Los Angeles. (1993). The light of learning: An illustrated history of the Los Angeles Public Library. Los Angeles, CA: Library Foundation of Los Angeles.