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Exploring L.A. – The Clark

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In October, I will begin my 15th year as a resident of the city of angels.  I have been meaning for some time to make more of an effort to see parts of Los Angeles that I don’t normally encounter.  I think I’ve actually made it a New Year’s resolution at least once (probably more).

Well, today I finally took the plunge with a scheduled tour of the William Andrew Clark Memorial Library.  I learned of the library from an article of places in Los Angeles to visit.  I just remember seeing a photo of this room and I knew I had to stand in it.

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Seriously, look at that woodwork.  Here’s the ceiling.

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From the library’s website:

The library and its collections were founded by William Andrews Clark, Jr., and named after his father, who had built a mining fortune in Montana. The son, a prominent Los Angeles book collector and philanthropist, had a house at the corner of Adams Blvd. and Cimarron Street, and from 1924 to 1926 he constructed the present library on the same lot. Shortly afterwards he announced his intention to donate the collection, the buildings, and the property to UCLA. When he died in 1934 the deed passed to the University.

The library is situated smack dab in the middle of the West Adams area.  It’s all walled off and very peaceful inside the complex.  There was a stipulation in the will that there would be no building up so most of the collection is stored underground, in addition to places to read the books/use them for research.

Some of the books are housed in one of two rooms in the back, like so.

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I’ve always been a bit of a bibliophile and libraries are sacred to me.  Along with art museums, they are some of my favorite places to visit when I travel.  The most excellent surprise came at the end of the tour.

In a small connecting room known as the French room, there was a sketch on the wall.  I let out an audible gasp when she told me it was a sketch of Marie Antoinette while she was in prison done by the painter Jacques-Louis David.  He is one of my favorite painters of all time.

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This was just another reason for me to keep exploring.  Who knows was treasures I may find?  I encourage you all to do the same.

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Some great pictures of the outside, including an outdoor reading area.

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Am I the only one absolutely geeked out by a card catalog?  Does anyone even remember this is how you used to find books in the library?  🙂

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This is the amazing entrance, beautiful marble and painted ceiling.

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One more for the road.  This is not sculpture.  It is actually painted onto the wall in one of the library rooms.  Amazing optical illusion.

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