The A.K. Smiley Public Library in Redlands, California is one of my favorite places on this earth – and by far my favorite library! Built in 1898, back when Redlands was known as the City of Millionaires, the architectural style is Moorish, which was surprisingly popular in the Victorian period. We may think of the standard Queen Anne when we think Victorian architecture, but the Victorians themselves were fascinated by the exotic. The wealthy traveled to Europe and the Far East, and they brought back not just rugs, and vases, and other furnishings, but also ideas about architecture. The A.K. Smiley Public Library, in my opinion, is the perfect architectural example of Victorian Moorish architecture in America. It’s fantastic!
And it’s not just a beautiful building – it’s also a great library. If you’re looking for a place to read a book in a garden – you can do that here. If you want to do research on local history – you can do that here. And if you just want a good old-fashioned library with books and computers and helpful librarians – that’s here too!