In the Pipeline: Many hands make library officially historic

June 10, 2013|By Chris Epting
  • Interior of the Huntington Beach Public Library on Triangle Park circa the 1960s.
Interior of the Huntington Beach Public Library on Triangle… (Courtesy Huntington…)

Think of it as "The little library that could." That is, thanks to the help of some very dedicated people. If you haven't heard, the National Park Service recently listed the Huntington Beach Public Library on Triangle Park on the National Register of Historic Places. And that is a very big deal.

A group called the Huntington Beach Neighbors (HBN), which includes more than 2,200 local residents, sponsored the nomination, and they should be very proud.

As HBN's new president, Richard Plummer, explained to me, "HB Neighbors worked for three years to nominate and list the library building and Triangle Park as a National Register property. This effort was based on exhaustive research from nine public and university libraries and 325 distinct resources, including 52 published books, three graduate school manuscripts, 58 different public records, many periodicals, and multiple Internet sites and interviews."

As he also described, the biggest challenge was not just the amount of paperwork and red tape. "The biggest challenge was having to complete all of the nomination work within HB Neighbors, without assistance from the city of HB. All the research and writing for the nomination was done by HB Neighbors and our consultant, whose work was funded solely by HB Neighbors."


The group hired a historic preservation consultant, who wrote and submitted the nomination. She is Jennifer Mermilliod, of JM Research and Consulting. She told me her biggest challenge "was to weave a compelling historic narrative that conveyed clearly how those uses intersected in a significant way and represented both the city's early-20th century community planning and development efforts and distinctive mid-century architectural and engineering achievements."

And clearly she did.

As to other structures in Huntington Beach that she thinks deserves this same historic designation, she told me, "Huntington Beach has many important historic buildings, structures and sites. Some of the most interesting and deserving of national distinction include the historic Wintersburg farm site, which includes properties related to early Japanese Americans and agriculture in Orange County, and the Depression-era downtown Main Street Post Office constructed by the Works Progress Administration. "

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