Local building praised by county historical society
by Marc Aceves | Patterson Irrigator
Jul 19, 2012 | 1253 views | 0 0 comments | 8 8 recommendations | email to a friend | print
Reconnecting with the region’s past, the Stanislaus County Historical Society highlighted several buildings, including Patterson’s former library, during its annual Architectural Awards ceremony June 26 in Modesto.

The Historic Commercial Building Award for interior restoration and preservation went to Patterson’s Carnegie Professional Center, 355 W. Las Palmas Ave.

Las Palmas Associates, a real estate investment group, purchased the former Carnegie Library building in 1990 and renovated it . The restoration process took about six months to complete and cost nearly $180,000.

Howard Sword is the managing partner, and received the plaque during the June 26 ceremony.

“We were very pleased by this award,” Sword said. “It was a real honor for us to have the opportunity to first purchase the building and then work on its historical renovation.”

The Stanislaus County Historical Society event honored edifices that exemplify the county’s best in categories including landscaping, façade improvements and ongoing exterior maintenance.

Designated a Patterson Historical Landmark in 1989 and added to the National Register of Historic Places in 1990, the Carnegie Professional Center building is a block west of the city’s downtown circle.

A library started by Carnegie

In 1912, T.W. Patterson, the city’s founder, sought a grant from the Andrew Carnegie Foundation.

Carnegie, the “King of Steel,” was flexing his philanthropic muscles by giving cities money to build libraries. He gave more than $4 million to 1,412 communities in the United States between 1883 and 1919.

In 1917, Patterson received $3,000 from the foundation to erect the building at El Circulo and Las Palmas Avenue.

Construction was postponed until after World War I, when Patterson residents raised an additional $8,000 to complete the library , for an estimated $10,820.

Designed by architect George de Colmisnil and built by Burton Morgan in 1921, Patterson’s Carnegie Library opened with fanfare that included “several speeches and music by the children of the grammar school, which was dismissed for the occasion,” according to Irrigator archives.

The building housed Patterson Public Library until 1976, when Stanislaus County built a new branch library at 46 N. Salado Ave., where it remains today.

That same year, under terms of the donation, the land and Carnegie building reverted to Patterson Land Co. The land company sold the property to private interests, and the former library has since served as a real estate office, an artist gallery and professional offices.

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