Paso Robles, San Luis Obispo County
Central Coast area, Central Coast region
Carnegie Historic Library
City Park, part of the original townsite of Paso Robles and donated to the city by two of its founders, J. and D. Blackburn, provides the setting for the Paso Robles Carnegie building. The Classical Revival library, of rosy brick with gray stone trim, surrounded by large old valley oaks and magnolias, exemplifies the Carnegie "temple in a park." The building was added to the National Register of Historic Places in 1998.
A men's group, the Paso Robles Improvement Club, initiated the first library in 1901, and the ladies auxiliary persuaded the city to establish a free public library in 1903. A Carnegie grant of $10,000 was received in 1906 for the building; the park, a full city block between 11th and 12th and Spring and Pine streets, was selected as the site. William H. Weeks, California's most prolific Carnegie architect, designed the building and R.O. Summers was the contractor. A small addition to the rear was built in 1939 by the WPA. Pollsters evaluating the future of the building in 1981 found that 82.6% of the townspeople believed it was "very important" to preserve the building and an overwhelming number cited historic old buildings and City Park as important elements of Paso Robles as a place to live and shop. In 1998 the building was rededicated for its new use by the El Paso de Robles Area Historical Society for local history and genealogy research and displays.