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Portland Then/Now: Multnomah County Central Library

Thursday, April 23, 2015

 

multnomah county library

Multnomah County Central Library, circa 1918. City of Portland Archives.: A2004-002.578

multnomah county library

Multnomah County Central Library, April, 2015. Photo by Byron Beck.

Portland Then/Now: Multnomah County Central Library

THEN: Here is a photo of the Multnomah County Central Library taken from the corner of SW 10th Avenue and SW Yamhill Street, circa 1918. 

The Multnomah County Central Library, alongside other well known Portland landmarks such as Benson Hotel, Reed College, the Meier & Frank building, the U.S. National Bank, was designed by one of Portland’s most well regarded (and busy) architects: A. E. Doyle.  

The Georgian-style library was opened to the public in 1913, about five years before this photograph was taken.

The design, construction and furnishings cost $480,000.  Central Library’s exterior changed little in the past 100 years. The exterior walls are covered with sandstone and the interior details include marble and wood.

NOW: The jewel in the crown that is Portland's well-respected and long running library system according to the library’s own research its collections weigh more than 875 tons and take up 17 miles of shelf space. In 1979 the building was placed on the National Register of Historic Places.

The interior has undergone several dramatic changes, most recently between 1994 and 1997. 

The branch contains 125,000 square feet of space spread over three spacious floors.The Central Library features dozens of computer terminals, the Beverly Cleary Children’s Library and the Henry Failing Art and Music Library.

 

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