Petaluma, Sonoma County

North Bay Loop area, North Coast region

Petaluma Historical Library and Museum
20 Fourth Street
Petaluma, CA 94952

opened 1906
Free Public Library of Petaluma 1906-1976
currently a museum

grant amount: $12,500
architectural style: Classical Revival (Type B)
architect: Brainerd Jones


Petaluma's historic downtown is noted for its many surviving iron front commercial buildings and for its Classical Revival temple style Carnegie library building with its two story pedimented and columned entrance, vaulted ceiling, and leaded glass skylight.

Petaluma's library history dates from an 1858 Odd Fellows library, opened to the public in 1867. In 1878 it was among the first libraries to be transferred to its city under terms of the Rogers Act. The city hoped its Carnegie request would bring $20,000 but $12,500 was offered; community fund raising accounted for the remainder. Civic leader Addie Atwater sold the lot at the corner of Fourth and B streets to the city, specifying that land and improvement would revert to her heirs if it were no longer used as a library. Brainerd Jones designed the building, his first major commission before he rose to regional prominence and R.W. Moller was the builder. With very little change the Carnegie served until a new library was completed in 1976, after which its restoration as an historical museum with library, to meet the terms of the land gift, was the city's Bicentennial project.

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