Tuesday, April 30, 2013

Pompeiian House built by Felix Peano

Built in the style of an opera house, Italian-born sculptor and visionary Felix Peano, designed this house at 128 San Vicente Blvd. in Santa Monica. The house remained in this location from its completion in the early 1900s until 1931. Peano designed the bridges over the canals in the ill-fated Venice of America built by Abbot Kinney in 1905. He was also noted for a particular copper door style, working in undercut copper, called "door of life." Peano was born in Parma, Italy in 1864 and died in Hawthorne, California in 1946. He was a close friend of Jack London.

An article detailing the architectural and design elements appears in Achitectural Record, vol. 29 (1909) - "The Sculptor as His Own Architect and Builder." The house was described as isolated when built, but Peano provided for all the amenities including gas, water, drainage, electricity and electric cars. The article is viewable in Google Books and includes details not only about the construction and several images, but biographical data about the home designer and builder.

Tuesday, April 2, 2013

First free public library founded on April 9, 1833 - Santa Monica in 1893

The Peterborough Town Library in New Hampshire is the oldest tax supported library in the world.

Santa Monica formed its first Library Association in 1976 for a $2.00 annual fee. The Reading Room was turned over to the Women's Christian Temperance Union (WTCU) in 1888. The WTCU turned the collection of 800 books over to the City of Santa Monica in 1890. Santa Monica's first City Librarian, Miss Elfie A. Mosse, was appointed in December that same year. Two rooms in the Bank of Santa Monica building on Oregon Avenue (now Santa Monica Blvd.) and Third Street were used for the library. Use of the materials in the reading rooms was free. Borrowing priveleges cost 25 cents a month, which would have been $75.00 in 2012. The Santa Monica Public Library was determined free to the public in March, 1893 with 1,800 volumes, including books, newspapers, and magazines.

Elfie A. Mosse, City Librarian when appointed in 1890