Friday, August 31, 2012

Two More Carnegies

Paso Robles, California

I am thrilled California has taken steps to save the remaining Carnegie Libraries in the state.  They are all architectural gems and the ones in Paso Robles and Lompoc are fine examples of the Classical Revival style or the "temple in a park" that Andrew Carnegie so supported.  The Paso Robles Carnegie, located in the historic plaza of Paso Robles, is now the home of the historical society.  I had the opportunity this week to stop by and was given a private tour by Wayne Harris, an erudite gentleman who held me spellbound with stories of the town's past and his own colorful history.

His family moved here in the 1800's by covered wagon and started ranching.  One ancestor had his leg amputated due to a bite from a grizzly bear.  Another one was lynched as a Salem Witch.  He showed me a book he had written filled with the hardships he and his family endured.  He gives a guided "Tour of the Hills", which I would love to take when I have more time.  Contact Wayne at 805-286-6032 to schedule a tour of the geological, historical and Native American sites around Paso Robles.

I continue to find connections between my area of the world and California.  Did you know one of the founders of Paso Robles was Drury Woodson James?  He owned a ranch and a hot springs resort and stories abound about hiding his nephew, Jesse James, at his ranch.  One time, after being shot, Jesse (with his brother Frank) came to heal his wounds in the hot sulfur water.  Amazing.

Lompoc, California

Lompoc's Carnegie Library is so cute it's almost an architectural folly.  It, too, houses a museum, but is only open for a few hours every afternoon.  The museum has a fine collection of Native American artifacts.  This little Greek Temple was added to the National Register of Historic Places in 1990.

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