Sonoma, Sonoma County

North Bay Loop area, North Coast region

Sonoma Visitors Center
453 First Street East
Sonoma, CA 95476

opened 1913
Public library from 1913-1976
currently a visitors center

grant amount: $6,000
architectural style: Mission/Spanish Colonial Revival
architect: A. C. Lutgens

The Sonoma Carnegie building is a unique example of the Classical Revival in a town noted for its mix of adobe, Mission, "Monterey Colonial," Victorian, and Italianate architecture. The Carnegie and the Mission Revival city hall are the only buildings on the town's central plaza and are part of the Sonoma Plaza National Register Landmark area which includes the most northerly of the missions, San Francisco Solano.

Early literary societies in Sonoma date from 1892, and there may have been a Cumberland College Library as early as 1860. But the first library is attributed to the Sonoma Valley Women's Club in 1903, that and the restoration of the plaza having been goals the group set for itself when it formed in 1901. It was free and open to the public but not publicly supported until 1909, and occupied a variety of locations. Carnegie funds were sought and $6000 was offered in 1911. The two main interests of the Women's Club were combined when a plaza site was chosen. A.C. Lutgens who had designed the adjacent city hall designed the more subdued library with a modest use of classical elements. Since construction of a new library, the Carnegie has housed the Chamber of Commerce and the Visitors Center.

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