Chico, Butte County
Sacramento Valley area, Shasta Cascade region
It is hard to imagine that the Mediterranean Revival building that now houses the Chico Museum is the original Romanesque Chico Carnegie Library, but photographs of the two buildings illustrate the remarkable transformation. The Carnegie building, now with red tile roof and colorful decorative tiles, is centrally located at Second and Salem streets, just a block from the Chico State University campus, where it is a vital addition to Chico's lively downtown business district.
Earlier Chico libraries included an 1866 Lyceum, an 1867 YMCA library, and an 1879 Chico Free Library and Reading Room, the latter due to the efforts of the Blue Ribbon Brigade of the WCTU. After a library tax was enacted in 1902, the WCTU donated the library to the city and application was made to Carnegie; $10,000 was offered in 1904. Stone and Smith of San Francisco designed the building in the late 19th century Romanesque style with an octagonal tower. Builders were Porter and Gerber. In 1939 Story and Brouchoud of Chico extensively renovated the building as Mediterranean Revival. The interior was remodeled in 1962 and again, after a new library was begun in 1981, to accommodate the Chico Museum Association. A 1991 remodel resulted in addition of a museum store and kitchenette.