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Mesa Verde Library: Bold Architectural Beauty

The Mesa Verde Library was designed by architects Schwager, Desatoff & Henderson, the firm responsible for the Costa Mesa Civic Center, the former Edwards Theater on Adams, and Fire Station #4 on Placentia.

“Modern” was the most common way to describe the branch on opening day. Commentators praised the “lofted solar reading room,” the four patios, the dumb waiter, and, surprisingly, the fact it was carpeted. While some things have changed — the full-moon circulation desk has disappeared and the patios are more or less inaccessible — the basic structure remains intact. Even the dumb waiter still works!

A 1972 pamphlet states, “The bold architectural beauty of the Mesa Verde building is still noted by new residents in the community.” Indeed, from its distinctive folded-plate roof to its elegant low-slung base and geometric colonnades, the mid-century modern library still feels fresh after 52 years. The open tri-level interior is brightened by dozens of windows which bring the “park-like setting” in and lend what the pamphlet describes as “an air of cheerfulness and friendliness to all who enter its doors.”

The next time you’re on the north side, take a trip to the recently remodeled Mesa Verde Library and check out one of Costa Mesa’s unsung gems.