Hollywood Branch Library

(1986)* - Looking across Ivar Avenue towards Hollywood Branch Library, aka the Frances Howard Goldwyn Hollywood Regional Library in Hollywood, located at 1623 N. Ivar Ave.  


Historical Notes

Soon after the old Hollywood library was destroyed in an unsolved arson fire on April 13, 1982, Samuel Goldwyn Jr. and the five other foundation board members of the Samuel Goldwyn Foundation decided to take on building a new one as a special project and hired Venice architect Frank Gehry to design it. The Library would be named in honor of the late Frances Howard Goldwyn, actress and mother of Samuel Goldwyn Jr.

To date, the Samuel Goldwyn Foundation has given $3.24 million to pay for the entire cost of the new building and furnishings, the largest cash contribution ever donated to a public library in California.^




(1986)* – Hollywood Branch Library – View looking NE toward the Frances Howard Goldwyn Hollywood Regional Library in Hollywood.  Note the ornate 1920s-style two lamp streetlights in front of the Library.  These are known as Metropolitan Stretlight Standards which were prevalent throughout Hollywood in the 1920s.  


Historical Notes

The original Hollywood library opened in 1906 in two rented rooms on what was then Prospect Ave. (now Hollywood Boulevard). A project of the Woman’s Club of Hollywood, the library’s first permanent home was built in 1907 by Andrew Carnegie at Ivar and Prospect. The community embraced it; so much so that it outgrew its space by 1939, and moved to its present location (Click HERE to see the Hollywood Library its earlier location)

After the 1982 fire, only 20,000 of the library’s then-90,000 book collection was salvageable; community members, corporations, and other library organizations contributed their own volumes to help fill the shelves. The Samuel Goldwyn Foundation built the new library, eliminating entirely the dark and musty quality of old-style libraries, with plenty of light, modern design, and lots of open space, as well as enough book shelves to house 100,000 volumes.




(1987)** – Only in Hollywood! - Ivar Theatre burlesque house with Hollywood branch of Los Angeles Public Library next door.  


Historical Notes

Built by restaurant owner Yegishe Harout in 1951, the Ivar Theatre presented stage plays until 1971. Plays produced here include, “The Barrett’s of Wimpole Street”, “The Glass Menagerie”, “Cat on a Hot Tin Roof” and “The Pajama Game”. From 1971 it began showing adult films along with burlesque performances.

The theatre was home to the California Youth Theatre from late-2000 through the middle part of the decade. The Ivar Theatre then presented stage plays and live music as the New Ivar Theatre. In 2012, the Ivar Theater was operated by the Los Angeles Film School as an active classroom space. It is currently not used or rented out as a theatre space.*

Click HERE to see more on the Ivar Theatre.




(2011)^.^- Francis Howard Goldwyn Regional Branch Library, Gehry Partners 1986  


Historical Notes

With a five-story glass window towering over the front of the two-story structure, the building gives a visitor the feeling of being outside when inside. It also has two reflecting pools on either side of the reading rooms on the second level, creating a tranquil effect.




(2019)^ - A circular stairwell leads up to large reading and reference rooms on the second floor. Sign in the background reads: "Dedicated to the Memory of Frances Howard Goldwyn...."  


Historical Notes

In 1983, when the original model for the library was unveiled, Gehry was criticized for its design. “People said that it didn’t look like what a library was supposed to look like,” he said. “Have four rather solid walls, be dark and have Shakespeare and Plato on the walls. That’s good, too, but this is different. It will be a little bit controversial, but anytime you make a statement you get controversy. I hope people will come and look at it, and maybe want to come in and read a book.”*




(2019)^.^ – View showing 2nd floor reading room and circular stariway.  


Historical Notes

For film scholars and researchers, there is a special collection room that houses more than 20,000 volumes pertaining to the early history of the motion picture industry and the history of Hollywood.




(2010)^.^ - Hollywood Branch Library reading room with views of the Capitol Records Building and Broadway-Hollywood Building through the floor-to-ceiling windows.   


Historical Notes

For film scholars and researchers, there is a special collection room that houses more than 20,000 volumes pertaining to the early history of the motion picture industry and the history of Hollywood.




(2018)** - The Frank Gehry-designed Frances Howard Goldwyn library located at 1623 Ivar Ave in Hollywood. Photo by Gary Leonard  


Historical Notes

The formal symmetry of the Francis Howard Goldwyn Library is a departure from the architect's typical body of work. A massive central tower is flanked by two smaller ones, each with north-facing skylights.



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Other Sections of Interest


Early City Views (1800s)

Historical Bldgs (1800s)

Early Hollywood (1850 - 1920)

Early San Fernando Mission

Early Los Angeles Plaza

Water in Early Los Angeles

Early So Calif Amusement Parks

Baseball in Early Los Angeles

Aviation in Early Los Angeles

Early San Pedro and Wilmington

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Early City Views (1900 - 1925)

Historical Bldgs (1900 - 1925)

Early Views of Hollywood (1920 +)

Early Views of the San Fernando Valley

California Historical Landmarks in LA

Electricity in Early Los Angeles

Historical Timeline of Los Angeles

Los Angeles River - The Unpredictable

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Early City Views (1925 +)

Historical Bldgs (1925 +)

Early Views of Hollywood Bowl

Early Views of Pasadena

Early Views of Santa Monica

Early Views of Glendale

Early Views of UCLA / Westwood

Early Views of USC

Early Views of Historic Main Street

Early Los Angeles Streetlights

'Miracle Mile' (1920s & 1930s)




Water and Power in Early LA






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