UPDATED: Assistant City Manager Joan English reports the demolition of the library took place midday on Tuesday. As for why the city did not give residents any notice regarding the demolition, English said, "We don't give notice of phases of construction projects."
On the eve of the , the old library has been torn down.
The original library, built in 1960, was slated for demolition as part of a redesign of West Hollywood Park. However, no date for that demolition was scheduled. According to a park employee, the library was torn down on Monday.
San Vicente Boulevard, between Melrose and Santa Monica Boulevard, where the original library was located, was closed to traffic from Monday at 6 a.m. until Tuesday at noon. Since the Sheriff’s station is also located in that block, for security operations during President Obama’s fundraising visit on Monday afternoon.
However, the Sherriff’s office never confirmed that the area was being used as a command post. In fact, in the press release the city sent out regarding road closures during the president’s visit, the closure of San Vicente was listed separately from the other streets about town.
The original library was considered small and dated, no longer meeting the needs of the residents of a thriving city. While it lacks any unique architectural features, it was designed by renowned architect Edward Fickett, who designed many buildings and public spaces in Los Angeles in the 1950s and 1960s, including the Port of Los Angeles.
Because of the Fickett connection, there was a movement afoot to preserve the original library. Steve Ward, a member of the Los Angeles Conservancy Modern Committee, appeared before the City Council several times, pleading with the council to not to tear down the building. Ward about preserving the library and also had a Save West Hollywood Library Facebook page.
Weho Patch contacted Ward for comment about the library demolition, but he has not responded.
The area surrounding the original library, adjacent tennis courts and old baseball field (most recently used as a temporary parking lot) has been fenced off for about two weeks. When San Vicente reopened to traffic on Tuesday afternoon, a black tarp was up around the fenced area.
Because the original library was a single-story building, its demolition behind the tarped 10-foot-high fence was not immediately noticed by residents.
Weho Patch received a tip Wednesday about 6 p.m. the building had been torn down. City Hall was already closed by that point, thus Patch was unable to get a comment from city officials.
Weho Patch will follow this story and update readers as more details become available.