Redding, Shasta County
North Coast/Northeast area, Shasta Cascade region
Redding's earliest library was the 1896 WCTU reading room; an 1899 Free Reading room sponsored a lecture by David Starr Jordan among its several activities. Although there were many churches, lodges, and other civic clubs, a group of women felt there was little emphasis on city beautification and in 1902 organized a Women's Improvement club. One of the women wrote to Carnegie for funding for a building for the growing book collection; $10,000 was granted in 1903. The city passed the required tax ordinance and a site, a "veritable bog" next to the railroad tracks, was purchased from Southern Pacific. The Club, in cooperation with the Lorenz estate, saw that the land was prepared, landscaped and maintained for the library, Lorenz Hotel, and civic auditorium sites. The building was designed and built by Matthew W. Herron in the Classical Revival style, and opened in 1904. It served as a library until 1949 when the city library merged with the newly organized county library, after which the old Carnegie building was used for county library administration. It was demolished in 1962 and its bricks were later used to cover outside walls of the police and city council building.