Julia Ideson Building

Julia Ideson Building (HM16D6)

Location: Houston, TX 77002 Harris County
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Country: United States of America
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N 29° 45.536', W 95° 22.142'

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Early efforts by Houston's Lyceum, local women's organizations and Andrew Carnegie's national foundation led to the 1904 Houston Lyceum and Carnegie Library Building. Julia Bedford Ideson, hired in 1903, was the city's first librarian. Under her direction, the library's collection and services expanded until, by 1920, the 1904 building was too small. The city continued to use the building, known by the 1920s as the Houston Public Library, until 1926, when the new library building opened at this site.

Ideson and the library building committee worked throughout the 1920s to formulate a plan and program for the new structure, visiting other U.S. cities and accepting proposals from several noted architects. They chose Ralph Adams Cram and his Boston firm, Cram and Ferguson, for the project. Cram worked with local architects William Ward Watkin and Louis A. Glover, coordinating also with the city's architect, W.A. Dowdy. The Southwestern Construction Company served as the builder.

Noted for his design work throughout the Northeast, Cram chose the Spanish Renaissance Revival style for Houston's library. Details include tile roof, arched openings, cast stone window surrounds, finials lining the parapet wall, and ornate metalwork. The L-shaped building's materials are primarily brick, cast stone and limestone.

After more than 40 years as Houston's librarian, Ideson died in 1945. The city renamed the library six years later to honor her contributions to Houston's library program, as well as her involvement in numerous civic groups and professional associations.

Although the city's library facilities and services have continued to expand since the Ideson Building's construction in 1926, the structure continues to serve as a library and local landmark.
Recorded Texas Historic Landmark - 2003
HM NumberHM16D6
Marker Number13888
Year Placed2003
Placed ByTexas Historical Commission
Marker ConditionNo reports yet
Date Added Wednesday, September 17th, 2014 at 7:17pm PDT -07:00
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Locationbig map
UTM (WGS84 Datum)15R E 270928 N 3294425
Decimal Degrees29.75893333, -95.36903333
Degrees and Decimal MinutesN 29° 45.536', W 95° 22.142'
Degrees, Minutes and Seconds29° 45' 32.16" N, 95° 22' 8.52" W
Driving DirectionsGoogle Maps
Area Code(s)713, 832, 210, 281
Closest Postal AddressAt or near 500 McKinney St, Houston TX 77002, US
Alternative Maps Google Maps, MapQuest, Bing Maps, Yahoo Maps, MSR Maps, OpenCycleMap, MyTopo Maps, OpenStreetMap

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