Colton, San Bernardino County
Inland Empire area, Inland Empire region
The Carnegie building is the only example of public architecture of its period remaining in Colton. The temple style Classical Revival building, with pediment and columns, is sited in a parklike setting near other civic buildings in a generally commercial area.Its two fireplaces and skylight above central rotunda are indicative of its early period; guidelines issued soon after its construction encouraged more austere buildings.
The fast growing railroad town of Colton had not established a public library prior to its 1906 application for Carnegie funding, although it had been advocated by the Colton Women's Club as early as 1902. When $10,000 was approved, the City Council promptly appointed a library board of trustees. The building, one of eight Carnegies designed by architect Franklin P. Burnham and built by Kaiser and Loomis, served as both library and community center. After a new library was constructed in 1982, the Carnegie was carefully restored for its present function as a museum. It was added to the National Register of Historic Places in 1988.