Fifty years ago it was hard to find Signal Hill’s public library. The catacomb library was hidden deep beneath the city’s City Hall. It was the smallest municipally owned library in Los Angeles County, and perhaps the entire nation.
|From 1934-1978 Signal Hill City Hall housed the library, initially on the second floor, later the basement|
|The basement entry that once led to the Signal Hill library|
This “new” library was not to be. The public library remained in the basement until December 1978 when it moved into the old city fire station. The obsolete fire building had been renovated as part of a $1.5 million urban renewal project that also brought the city a new police station.
|Rendering of the new 2019 library|
Signal Hill will finally have a new library 93 years after Mary Maude Chandler Trodd convinced W. E. Hinshaw to give her a room rent free for a library in his new brick building at Twenty-first and Cherry. With space for a library guaranteed she managed to cajole the City Council into giving her $30 for shelving. She then went from door to door collecting magazines and books.
The library, with its
few shelves of books, opened in March 1926. The
library eventually expanded, placed on the top floor of Signal Hill’s new City
Hall at 2175 Cherry in 1934, later moving to the basement in 1965, and old fire
station in 1978. Mary would be very happy to learn the small steps she had
taken to create the Signal Hill Public Library have paid off. Finally Signal
Hill will have a library in a brand new building, all its own, thanks in no
small part to Mary Maude Chandler Trodd’s dream. (For more on Mary
Trodd and the creation of the Signal Hill Public Library
read my June 2017 blog on Signal Hill history).
|Floor plan of the new 2019 library|
The 14000 square foot new library is scheduled to open August 10, 2019, at 1800 E. Hill Street. Festivities begin at 11 a.m. and continue until 4 p.m.