Celebrate Central Library in May

May of 2015 marks 20 years since a vision in bright red forever changed the downtown skyline of the Alamo City- the Central Library. The building received it’s modernist touch by Mexican architect Ricardo Legorreta, and his San Antonio partners – including the renowned Davis Sprinkle.

The 240,000-square-foot- Central Library opened back in May of 1995 with a celebration that included a community parade, family activities and remarks by then Mayor Nelson Wolff and the late Legorreta.

Fast-forward 20 years and we take a moment to celebrate and reflect on 20 years of success and hard work, by listening to a few of those involved in the development of what’s now the flagship library of the San Antonio Public Library System.

Listen to the below audio files for some interesting perspectives on the past, present and future of Central Library.

Central Library

Central_Fiesta_popout_graphic_webBack in 1991, the San Antonio Public Library Board recommended the purchase of the downtown Sears store located at Soledad and Navarro streets, which started a process that would bring the new Central Library to San Antonio. Ramiro Salazar, Director of the San Antonio Public Library, talks about the unique Central Library building and its significance. Listen to Salazar and learn more about Central Library.

Building Central Library

library_bld_construction2Architect Davis Sprinkle, who partnered with Ricardo Legorreta, talks about the process of designing the bright red fixture that would change San Antonio’s downtown skyline forever. Listen to Sprinkle and learn more about building Central Library.

The Grand Opening

opening2The City of San Antonio celebrated the grand opening of Central Library on May 20, 1995 with a community parade, family activities and official remarks by then Mayor Nelson Wolff and Ricardo Legorreta. Bexar County Judge Nelson Wolff talks about those moments and the importance of Central Library. Listen to Judge Wolff and learn more about Central Library.

Central Library used in film “Selena”

Back in 1996, Central Library is used to represent a location in Mexico for a scene in the film Selena, starring Jennifer Lopez.

Acquisition of “Fiesta Tower”

IMG_9234Tracey Ramsey Bennett, the President of the San Antonio Public Library Foundation, talks about the process of acquiring and installing the beautiful glass sculpture designed by Dale Chihuly at Central Library, back in 2003. According to Bennett, Dale Chihuly always wanted to have one of his works of art in a building designed by Ricardo Legorreta. Listen to Bennett and learn more about the “Fiesta Tower.”

More insight about “Fiesta Tower”

P1010394Nicolas Hollis, former Chairman of the San Antonio Public Library Foundation, brings his insight about the acquisition of the “Fiesta Tower” by Dale Chihuly and its tie to the 100th anniversary of the San Antonio Public Library, back in 2003. Listen to Hollis and learn more about the “Fiesta Tower.”

Central Plaza

IMG_0162Back in 2012, Central Library opened a new plaza on Augusta Street. Assistant Director Dale McNeill talks about this wonderful plaza that includes a stage and a garden for outdoor events. Listen to McNeill and learn more about the plaza.

First San Antonio Book Festival

903164_556140461073889_942597765_oKaty Flato, Executive Director of the San Antonio Book Festival, talks about the first Book Festival in San Antonio, back in 2012. Flato comments about the decision to anchor the event at Central Library and the author who significantly contributed to bringing people to the festival in its first edition. Listen to Flato and learn more about the San Antonio Book Festival.

Connect Training Center

IMG_6149Librarian II Julia Selwyn, with the San Antonio Public Library Reference Department, gives an overview of the latest updates and classes. Selwyn also shares an anecdote about the type of assistance available at the center. Listen to Selwyn and learn more about Connect Training.

Marie Swartz Art and Resource Center

Space - 04.2015. - JMPaula Owen, President of the Southwest School of Art, comments about the inception of the Marie Swartz Art and Resource Center as the Library of Reference for the school. Owen provides insight about the partnership with SAPL and the impact of the Marie Swartz Center. Listen to Owen and learn more about the Marie Swartz Art and Resource Center.

Latino Collection

IMG_2071Dr. Ellen Riojas Clark talks about the official dedication of a space for the ever-growing Latino Collection in June of 2014 at Central Library. The collection will relocate to the first floor of the Central Library in 2016. Listen to Dr. Riojas Clark and learn more about this collection.

Café Commerce

Unknown-2Peter French, President of Café Commerce, talks about his organization’s impact on the local business community and programs they have, such as 1 Million Cups. Did you know that Café Commerce is industry agnostic? Listen to French and learn more about Café Commerce. 

New Teen Library

Entrance to SAPL Teen CenterJennifer Velasquez, Teen Services Coordinator, talks about the new Teen Library, dedicated to San Antonio’s youth. Those between 13 to 18 years of age will enjoy cool new features that allow creation, design and the recording of artistic expression that explore the confines of creativity. Listen to Velasquez and learn more about the new Teen Library.

May 24 in San Antonio history…

World War I – 1915
Austria launches an attack on the Adriatic coast of Italy. Austrian destroyers and torpedo boats fire on several points along the coast, simultaneous with an aerial attack by aeroplane.
Two thousand trees, bearing markers in memory of veterans, will be planted in Bexar County along Highway 3-A, which connects the Alamo and San Jacinto battlefield near Houston.

The rerouting and consolidation of all but seven of the San Antonio Public Service Co. bus lines was begun.

May 23 in San Antonio history…

Announcement was made of the purchase of the San Antonio Light newspaper by William Randolph Hearst, 11 days after actual transfer of corporate stock.

Santa Rosa hospital opens San Antonio’s first Intensive Care Unit called a “Post-Operative Service Area.”

Carol Burnett visits San Antonio and is the guest of honor for the San Antonio ISD’s Scholastic Achievement and Improvement Day.  Mayor Lila Cockrell proclaimed the day “Carol Burnett Day.”  Ms. Burnett was born in San Antonio on April 26, 1933 and attended Crockett Elementary School.  She lived at 3301 W. Commerce St.

May 22 in San Antonio history…

World War I – 1915
A dispatch from the Stefani News Agency of Rome says King Victor Emmanuel signed today an act conferring extraordinary powers on the government “for the duration of the war.” Forces are being marshalled along with border with Austria.  It seems that war is imminent between Italy and Austria.

The first U.S. Post Office is established in San Antonio, with James Truehart as postmaster.

St. Paul Square, a turn-of-the-century East Side business district, is listed in the National Register of Historic Places.  Pat Osborne, city historic preservation officer, says that the listing – as the Southern Pacific Depot Historic District – will provide a great boost to redevelopment of St. Paul Square along East Commerce Street.

Fiesta Texas amusement park opens in northwest San Antonio.

May 21 in San Antonio history…

Members of First Baptist Church joined hands and sang the doxology while mortgages on the building were burned.

“Within less than a week, the deadly six-shooter has claimed three victims in Texas.  It would seem about time we quit that sort of thing.” – from the San Antonio Light.

Bob Hope appears at the Majestic Theatre as part of a gala benefit for the Guadalupe Cultural Center and to promote his new movie, “Paris Holiday.”

May 20 in San Antonio history…

In a spectacle, immensity of which almost took the breath away, 200 airplanes and a dirigible airship passed in aerial review before high ranking officers and the secretary of war at Kelly Field this morning.

A debate on the question of unifying U.S. air forces as a separte military service was scheduled for graduation exercises at San Antonio Military Academy.

The San Antonio Central Library at 600 Soledad holds its grand opening.

May 19 in San Antonio history…

The Texas Theater shows a one-night-only sneak preview of “Wings,” starring Clara Bow, Charles “Buddy” Rogers, Richard Arlen and Gary Cooper, before the official world premiere at the Criterion Theater in New York on August 12.  The motion picture was filmed in and around San Antonio and would win the first “Best Picture” Academy Award.

Nearly two months before the release of their second eponymous LP, Anglo-American band Fleetwood Mac, featuring new members Lindsey Buckingham and Stevie Nicks, play a concert in Municipal Auditorium.

It might go down in history as the most memorable turnover in Spurs history and one of the most excruciating moments endured by Spurs Nation. Rod Strickland’s ill-timed, two-handed, behind-the-back pass failed to connect with  Sean Elliott. The error paved the way for a Portland comeback which sparked the Trail Blazers to an improbable 108-105 overtime Game 7 victory in the Western Conference Semifinals in 1990.


May 18 in San Antonio history…

Ground is broken for the San Antonio and Aransas Pass Railroad.

Commissioners Court authorized a contract allowing a local resident to dig for buried treasure on county-owned land.

The Oakwell Branch Library, 4134 Harry Wurzbach, is displaying drawings and watercolors by noted artist Amy Freeman Lee through May 29. Miss Lee has lectured at many colleges and universities, including Trinity and Incarnate Word.

May 17 in San Antonio history…

Ignatius Coyle smashes the image of Saint Theresa at the Alamo Church and is arrested by Captain Tom Rife.

Before 500 friends of the institution, the cornerstone of Reinbolt Hall, new annex to St. Louis College, was laid today.  The site is one mile from the terminal of the West End car line.  Brother John Wolf presided.

The Arsenal property is offered for sale by the Texas National Guard and advertised as such in the Wall Street Journal  on a sealed-bid basis.

May 16 in San Antonio history…

The State of Texas buys the Alamo for $20,000.

The Pigeon Hole Parking Garage went into operation today at 212 Soledad Street.  The 10-story building has a maximum capacity of 180 cars.  Two manually-operated elevators lift incoming cars to one of the nine floors where they are parked.  The whole operator is handled by only five employees.  Rates are five cents for ten minutes with a maximum charge of $1.50 per day.

The second known set of chimpanzee twins in existence were born today at the Southwest Foundation for Research and Education.  “Millie,” a 16-year old chimp gave birth to a male and female at 6 a.m.  Foundation officials report mother and babies are doing fine.

May 15 in San Antonio history…

1943>May 15 in San Antonio History...
Playland Park holds its grand opening in its new location at 2222 N. Alamo (at Broadway). It will remain San Antonio’s favorite amusement park until closing in 1980.

Rather than cutting the traditional ribbon, Mayor Lila Cockrell sliced through a six-foot-long hot dog to officially dedicate the new Brackenridge Park Water Works Snack Bar.  The hot dog and bun, which required two people to transport – were donated by Roeglein Provision Co. and Butter Krust Bakery.  The new $261,000 structure is located near the Hildebrand Avenue entrance to the park and across from the Joske Pavilion.

The Alamodome opens to the public.


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