Grass Valley, Nevada County
Gold Country area, Gold Country region
Grass Valley Library
Grass Valley and nearby Nevada City share early mining history and location on today's Sierra foothill Highway 49. The Grass Valley Carnegie is located near the center of the old downtown, on the east side of Mill Street between Neal and Walsh streets, on a steeply sloping site which provides a rear grade level entrance to the basement children's room. Classical Revival in style, its red brick facade is highlighted with numerous white pilasters. The library was added to the National Register of Historic Places in 1992.
Settled in 1849, Grass Valley mining was "hard-rock," and the easily accessible gold was soon gone. Miners from Cornwall brought the skills of tin mines, including the Cornish pump, and the Cornish heritage is still prevalent. An 1860 library was short lived, as was another in 1869. In 1901 the Emmanuel Church Library was formed, non-denominational and welcoming "the Atheist and the Buddhist if such there be." The city took responsibility for the library in 1911 and Carnegie support was requested in 1914. A grant of $15,000 was received in 1915. After a contentious debate, architect William Mooser of San Francisco was selected to design the building; extensive correspondence between the trustees and the other contestant, William Weeks, is on file. Welch Bros. and Hannemann of Oakland were the builders.