The Sherman Library where Pacific Southwestern History and Rare Gardens Meet

Sep 16, 2010 by Sandy Schroeder

Once you step inside the Sherman Library and Gardens in Corona Del Mar, you’ll want to linger by strolling through its brick walkways, photograph their color laden gardens, enjoy the flowing fountains and pause at the Koi pond and Conservatories.

Here, marvelous bird sculptures sit in beautifully tended gardens; while at the Cafe Jardin, they offer lunch and brunch in this tranquil setting. Then, after turning the corner there’s a welcome sign on the Sherman Library door. The Sherman Library is home to a well known repository of Pacific Southwest history, and the other half of this very special site is its exquisite gardens.

A Non Profit Educational and Cultural Center

This 2.2 acre garden and library spans an entire city block in Corona del Mar. The garden contains over one thousand species and two hundred genera of rare cacti, succulents and exotic vegetation. Many of the plant specimens are labeled by origin, generic family, and common names with plant directories available for those who wish to study the plants in-depth.

The Gift Shop features flower and garden-related greeting cards, note cards, kitchenware, recipe and garden books, along with an educational children’s corner.

This special place was created in 1966, with the gardens named in memory of educator and California pioneer, Moses H. Sherman, who lived from 1853 to 1932. Another principal founder, Arnold D. Haskell, established the Library and Gardens to furnish the community with an educational and cultural center.

The Sherman Library programs include lectures on horticulture and arts, group tours led by over 150 volunteers and docents, and include the very special Discovery Garden–where blind and wheelchair visitors will be able to find easy access and enjoy plants chosen not for appearance sake, but for appeal to the sense of touch and smell.

Café Jardin for lunch or brunch:

The "coastal garden" cuisine is fresh California produce with a French menu. Its outdoor dining has a view of the gardens, moving indoors, if necessary, based on the inclement weather.

Monday – Friday, 11:30 a.m.- 2:30 p.m.

Sunday Brunch: 10:30 a.m.- 2:00 p.m.

The Library

Initially, visitors are intrigued by this building that was once a private home. The original little adobe house is now an exhibit room with Pacific Southwest heritage displays.

The Library acquires, organizes, and preserves numerous and different types of Pacific Southwestern relevant material–this region comprises California, Arizona, and adjacent portions of Nevada, plus the area around the upper end of the Gulf of California. Not surprisingly, the Pacific Southwestern area has undergone an astonishing transformation over the past 100 years.

This area equals only a handful of other nations in the world, whose economies exceed that of this region. One of the library’s main purposes is to provide research material on this phenomenal development.

During its relatively short existence, the Library has acquired approximately 25,000 books, pamphlets and other printed items, a sizable number of maps and photographs, several hundred thousand papers and documents and more than 2,000 reels of microfilmed material.

Among the microfilm holdings are back files of several of the region’s old newspapers, including the Los Angeles Times, from its beginning in 1881.

The Library’s researchers include elementary school to graduate students, historians, environmental consultants, fiction and non-fiction writers. The library’s directories collection is among the most highly used portion of the Library.

The Sherman Library is solely a research library, rather than a circulating library. Materials are not available to be checked out.

Free Parking for Sherman visitors is at the lot on Dahlia St., across from the facility. It open until 5 p.m.

Admission prices are: $3.00 Adult; $1.00 Children ages 12-16. Children under 12 free. Free admissions are on Mondays.

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