Willits Willits

Willits, Mendocino County

North Coast/Redwoods area, North Coast region

Willits Carnegie Library Building
85 East Commercial Street
Willits, CA 95490

opened 1915
Willits Carnegie Library 1915-1989
currently a cable television office

grant amount: $8,000
architectural style: Classical Revival (Type C)
architect: Dan Deshiell

Just two blocks from both the railroad depot and the historic downtown, and almost hidden by a tall holly tree, the old Willits Carnegie Library building is probably seen by few of the tourists who hurry past to catch the Skunk Train to Fort Bragg. The building, classical in style with curved projecting white terra cotta arched entrance and dark patterned brick facade, is still owned by the city. It was listed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1993.

Library discussions began in Willits in 1904, the following year a private individual established a free reading room, and one-year later the city passed an ordinance creating a free public library, at the urging of the Women's Improvement Club. The women then urged application for Carnegie funding, and after $8000 was granted in 1913, they raised money to purchase a lot. Dan Deshiell designed and built the library. The Women's Improvement Club building, next door, has been recently renovated by the Willits Cultural Arts Commission while the library, briefly vacant after construction of the new library, serves as studio and equipment storage for the city's public interest television station.