Colusa, Colusa County
Sacramento Valley area, Central Valley region
Colusa Police Department
Colusa, on the banks of the Sacramento River, resembles an old Southern town with its stately homes and tall trees. The dark gray stone Carnegie at the northwest corner of Jay and Sixth streets faces Courthouse Square and its white brick Courthouse, California's second oldest. Now the Police Department, the Carnegie's library identity is established by its cornerstone and by the names -- Hawthorne, Darwin, Bancroft, Milton, Emerson, Shakespeare -- carved into stone lentils above its first floor windows. It was placed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1990.
Many reading rooms and libraries preceded the 1900 city council vote to establish a public library in rented second floor quarters. A Carnegie grant of $10,000 was received in 1905, and the city purchased the site. Architects Stone and Smith designed the building; builders were Miller and Blean of Colusa. The Colusa Women's Club raised additional funds to meet the $13,158 total cost. After the first library and subsequent city offices moved to new quarters, sale of the Carnegie appeared imminent until a citizens poll convinced the council to maintain its civic use. It was designated a Colusa Historic Landmark in 1981 by Ordinance No. 332 which noted its special features including locally quarried Sites sandstone veneer and parapet, metal pediment and entablature, and the carved stone lentils.