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Packard Library - Marysville, CA
Posted by: Groundspeak Premium Member saopaulo1
N 39° 08.371 W 121° 35.264
10S E 622052 N 4333209
Quick Description: Historic library in downtown Marysville, CA
Location: California, United States
Date Posted: 7/31/2008 12:43:24 AM
Waymark Code: WM4AVV
Published By: Groundspeak Premium Member silverquill
Views: 36

Long Description:
" This structure was a gift from John Q. Packard to the City of Marysville in appreciation of his successful business. Marysville had the first municipal library west of the Mississippi in 1857.

John Q Packard came to the Marysville area to seek his fortune during the Gold Rush, but he found that prospecting was not what he thought it would be. Because he found himself partial to the area, Packard joined forces with another Marysville resident, Col. Edwards Woodruff, in a soon to be successful merchandizing venture, the House of Packard and Woodruff, located on the corner of Second and D Streets. In 1900 Packard, by this time a millionaire and somewhat of a recluse, bought property in Santa Cruz where he developed a successful limestone business. Although he lived in Santa Cruz he continued to own a business and property in Marysville, for which he held a soft spot all his life.

On a visit to Marysville in 1905, Packard saw the plight of the city's library and deeded his lots on Fourth and C streets, thus authorizing the razing of the old brick stable that had heretofore occupied that spot to erect a building to be used only as a free library. Further stipulations included that the cost of the construction not exceed $70,000, that it look like a library and that his name not be used in connection with it.

Packard instructed San Francisco architect William Curtlett to design a turn-of-the-century brick, monumental structure with a polished limestone facing. The traditional, beaux-art genre building was to have a handsome formal entrance to face Fourth Street and a side entrance on C Street. The two story structure was built by San Francisco contractor R. Dewar and was actually the height of a modern four story building.

The main floor of the library had ceilings twenty-two feet high, held up by tremendous columns with simple capitals. Egg and dart crown molding graced the ceiling and wall juncture. A mezzanine projected partially over this main area with a wrought iron balustrade stretching between the columns. Above the mezzanine, the second story housed a small theater with a stage, two dressing rooms and seating for one-hundred patrons who could come to hear readings, view live dramas or attend meetings. Amazingly enough, the building was equipped with some modern technology for the times - central heating, numerous electrical outlets, a historical document room, a children's library and restrooms with the same mosaic tile that covered the entry ways.

The library's cornerstone, laid in 1905, contained a copper box holding a history of Marysville, written by Colonel E.A. Forbes, coins, historical items and current newspapers. The last limestone block was fitted into place in October of that year, the keys were delivered to then Mayor, G.W. Hall in June; the building was lighted for the first time in July, and the formal dedication was scheduled for October 12, 1906, where fifteen hundred people attended the festivities.

The building served seventy-one years as a public library. Although it continued to be used in the capacity that it was built for, by 1955, it was obvious that costly repairs needed to be done to maintain the structure properly. Offers by two private parties to buy the lot, demolish the building itself and replace it with a parking lot were met with interest by the City of Marysville. In order for this to occur, however, Packard's stipulation that the property and building be used as a library in perpetuity had to be resolved.

With the 1977 construction of the present Yuba County Library, plans were made to sell the property. In the 1980's pursuant to finding no apparent heirs to John Q. Packard, the courts awarded the city clear title. At that time restoration funds were made available and work was done by Rocklin architect Clair Eatough, in such a way that it remains to this day a miraculous survivor of the recent urban renewal blast that leveled the major portion of historic Marysville." (visit link)
Street address:
301 4th St., Marysville

County / Borough / Parish: Yuba

Year listed: 1978

Historic (Areas of) Significance: Architecture/Engineering

Periods of significance: 1900-1924

Historic function: Education, Recreation And Culture

Current function: Education, Recreation And Culture

Privately owned?: yes

Primary Web Site: [Web Link]

Season start / Season finish: Not listed

Hours of operation: Not listed

Secondary Website 1: Not listed

Secondary Website 2: Not listed

National Historic Landmark Link: Not listed

Visit Instructions:
Please give the date and brief account of your visit. Include any additional observations or information that you may have, particularly about the current condition of the site. Additional photos are highly encouraged, but not mandatory.
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