Join Us on Oct. 12 & 13, 2012 for the 50th Anniversary of the Dedication of the Marin County Civic Center Administration Building

by Laurie Thompson

Civic Center Administration Building, October 1962. Anne T. Kent California Room Collection.

Saturday, October 13, 2012, marks the 50th anniversary of the dedication of the Marin County Civic Center Administration Building designed by Frank Lloyd Wright.

Despite the pouring rain, 4,000 people attended the dedication of the first phase of Marin’s new government center on Saturday, October 13, 1962.

Featured speakers included Olgivanna Wright -Frank Lloyd Wright’s widow- and Dr. Theodore A. Gill, president of the San Francisco Theological Seminary who said:

“The citizens of Marin…took a chance on art. Suddenly we see what one superb dreamer saw. The building is vigorously idiosyncratic -like its creator- but it has grace and dignity and power.”

The San Francisco Chronicle was headlined: “Jewel of a Building Dedicated in Marin.” The building contractor for the Civic Center, Robert Rothschild, said:

“Frank Lloyd Wright had one enemy and he fought that at every turn. That enemy was ugliness and second-rate architecture.”

Marin County Civic Center Administration Building taking shape. Anne T. Kent California Room Collection.

Wright located the County Library under the Civic Center’s iconic dome at the heart of the Administration Building, directly above the Board of Supervisor’s chambers. According to Wright’s associate, Aaron Green, the location was purposeful and symbolic: the Board of Supervisors chambers represents the center of government, and the county library represents the center of knowledge. Wright also thought that it would “be educational for children to expose them to government as a point of access to the library.”

Civic Center Library Circulation Desk, early 1963. Anne T. Kent California Room Collection.

Though the Civic Center Administration Building was dedicated on Oct. 13, 1962, it took months for all of the county departments, formerly located in downtown San Rafael, to move into the new building. The Library, which had been located at the former Coleman School at 1711 Grand Avenue, was one of the last departments to move in towards the end of 1962 and didn’t formally open for business until early 1963.

Please join the Civic Center Library staff on Friday, October 12 and Saturday, October 13, 2012 for a two-day 50th Anniversary Celebration of the dedication of the Civic Center Administration Building.

Originally published at https://annetkent.kontribune.com.

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Anne T. Kent California Room

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