The Gothic Revival building at the corner of 12th and Oak streets in Oakland, California was built by William E. Schirmer, and Arthur S. Bugbee in 1924 for the Merguire-Ritchie Chevrolet car dealership. In 1933, the Lakeside Roof ballroom and roller skating rink was installed on the upper floor. In 1936, the dealership was taken over by the California Electric Motor Company.
During WWII, the building was used as a reporting site for the internment of Japanese Americans. After the war it was subsequently a state employment office (1951) and a Western Union branch (1967) before being acquired in 1989 by the county law library that was by then located in the nearby courthouse.
Architects Robinson Mills + Williams of San Francisco were tasked with transforming the space for the library. Works were initially delayed by the 1989 Loma Prieta earthquake, but eventually the new library opened in 1995.
Today, the Alameda County Law Library remains dedicated to freely providing access to authoritative legal information to the public and law professionals alike. It is free and open to the public. The images displayed here were taken during my visit in 2019.
This post is part of a series on adaptive reuse in libraries. See the list of such projects I am maintaining or view other posts in this series.
- Alameda County Law Library. Oakland Wiki. Last updated March 29, 2019
Library detail pages are primarily a place for me to collect information I gather on the libraries I visit, and are frequently updated. None of this should be considered authoritative, I am not an architect, nor a historian. If you notice something incorrect, please let me know!