We don’t need to go far to observe Memorial Day. The Memorial Branch Library in Brookside was built in 1930, on grounds given by the students of Los Angeles High School, the city’s first high school, in memory of the alumni who gave their lives fighting World War I, then considered the “war to end all wars.”
According to Los Angeles Public Library resources, the Gothic Revival brick building was designed by architects John C. Austin, the lead architect of the Griffith Observatory and the Hollywood Masonic Temple, and Frederick M. Ashley. It cost $46,000 to construct. The library also includes a large heraldic work of stained glass created by the artists at Judson Studios, which commemorates the alumni who died in World War I.
Heraldic stained glass windows feature the name of Los Angeles High School alumni who gave their lives fighting in World War I.Memorial Library was designated a Historic-Cultural Monument (No.81) by the Los Angeles Cultural Heritage Commission in 1971. In 1987, along with several other branch libraries in Los Angeles, it was placed on the U.S. National Register of Historic Places, as part of a thematic group submission.
The historic building of the Memorial Branch Library underwent a major restoration in the mid-1990s. The newly renovated building, opened on July 22, 1996, was designed by the firm of Miralles & Associates, Inc. Bill Judson provided the public art component, which is a stained glass installation at the end of each aisle of the library’s main bookstack ranges. Judson is the great-grandson of Walter Horace Judson of the Judson Art Studio. The project was funded by Proposition No.1, the 1989 Library Bond Issue, and the City’s Capital Improvement Program.
A stone monument was added to the grounds in 2013. As reported in the Buzz at that time:
“The stone monument formerly sat in front of the Los Angeles Central Library at the corner of 5th and Grand, which was constructed in 1926. After the library was renovated from 1988 through 1993, the monument was moved to a city storage yard in Griffith Park. Councilmember Tom LaBonge discovered the neglected monument several months ago, and, with the help of the staff of Los Angeles Public Library and the Library Foundation of Los Angeles, it will now stand for all to see at the Memorial Branch Library, which dates from the same era as the Los Angeles Central Library.”
The following photos of the stained glass windows were taken by Buzz co-Publisher Liz Fuller in 2017.
“Dedicated to the alumni of the Los Angeles High School who died in the World War 1914-1918.
May the sacrifice of these lives contribute to the establishment of peace among the nations.”