A. K. Smiley Public Library


The Redlands Area Historical Society, Inc.
Heritage Award 1983

A. K. Smiley Public Library
125 West Vine Street
Circa 1898

A. K. Smiley Public Library, currently the only building in Redlands on the National Register of Historic Places, was a gift to the citizens of Redlands from Albert  K. Smiley, an early benefactor who saw the need for a permanent library structure.

Designed in the Moorish Style by Redlands architect T. R. Griffith and constructed by the Redlands firm of Davis M. Donald, the building was completed in 1898, featuring walls of solid red brick with hand-cut trimmings. The building’s roof consists of heavy tiling from Chicago and the basement walls and foundation are hand-cut granite from local washes. Interior walls are of plaster on steel lath, while the floors are Oregon pine with a solid oak top layer. The inside decoration, except for the fireplace mantles, was constructed in Redlands, including the desks, chairs, tables, and stacks — all of oak.

The glass was originally polished plate with some of the smaller windows exquisitely leaded. The stained glass rose windows feature symbols associated with learning and libraries. Since 1898 these noteworthy physical changes have occurred: 1907, the extension of the original wing; 1926, the addition of the E. M. Lyon wing; 1920, the addition of the Daniel Smiley wing; 1930, the addition of the stack wing; 1937, the removal of the tower walls; 1978-1979, extensive preservation of the exterior, the foundation, and the stained glass windows.

The Redlands Area Historical Society is proud to honor this unique example of Redlands’ Heritage and to commend the stewardship of the City of Redlands, the Library Board, and the Library staff.