Stewart Memorial Library: Stockton’s First Library

The Stewart Memorial Library (1889-1891). Courtesy, the Bank of Stockton Archives

The Stewart Memorial Library (1889-1891). Courtesy, the Bank of Stockton Archives

The Steward Memorial Library constructed in 1889 on land donated by Charles Weber was located on Hunter between Main and Market Street, south of the Eureka Firehouse. Frank Stewart was a prominent businessperson who endowed funds in his will for the creation of Stockton’s first library building. It was designed by prominent architect, Charles Beasley who also designed the Agricultural Pavilion, the Imperial Hotel, Sperry Flour Mill Office and the Henery  Apartments, to name a few.

The front of the library was styled with a combination of medieval and classic Greek style architecture that included granite pillars with marble and unusual large “bulls-eye” windows. It was the third largest library in the state, besides San Francisco and Sacramento, and considered truly magnificent for its day. It was only there for three years, as the city grew rapidly during this period and the need for a larger builder was evident. This led to its replacement, the Hazelton Library, also referred to as the “Marble Library.”

Join us this Friday (9/19) at 5pm to celebrate the 50th Anniversary of the Cezar Chavez Library, as well as the history of Stockton’s Public Library.

Source: A History of the Stockton Public Library by Virginia Struhsaker, Pacific Historian (1980)

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