In 1855, after three attempts at tent buildings to house his restaurant on Main Street in San Andreas, California, business, Joseph Zwinge, grandfather of Sheriff Joe Zwinge, replaced the burned out tent structures with stone and rock. Zwinge took in partners; brother Wm. Zwinge and Antone Schachten. On December 29, 1858 the trio sold the building to John Huberty who operated a restaurant-hotel. John was the grandfather of attorney Joseph H. Huberty and great-grandfather of Judge Joseph S. Huberty, deceased husband of Shirley Huberty, Treasurer of CCFOTL.
The building formerly called “American Hotel” was purchased in 1936 by Désiré Fricot. He renovated the building and stipulated that the Chamber of Commerce, Historical Museum and Library could occupy its space. He donated the building to the county in 1937.
Roxie Hall, our first Librarian was appointed by the Board of Supervisors in 1939 and held this position until her sudden death on April 14, 1964.
Sheep Ranch was the first place to put another Library under the direction of Roxie Hall. Roxie drove into the small town of Sheep Ranch with a car full of books and approached Antionette Guidici about opening up her home that had previously been a boarding house where she fed the miners. All mines had closed in 1939 and miners left town. She accepted the offer and held that position for 40 years; closing upon her death at the age of 102. Her compensation was $35 a month. This spunky little woman was just four feet tall and 80 lbs.
By 1961 the notion of modernizing the public library had begun to surface. At about this time a few of these interested patrons organized what was to become the “Friends of the library” group; a Library Commission appointed by the Board of Supervisors in December made a number of recommendations for improvements; but in spite of all the interest no action was taken.
After more than 26 years from its conception, in 1967 the new Librarian, Frances Hunt, resolved to see a new library built within five years. Unfortunately, the timing was bad as members of the Friends group had dissolved and the county was hurting financially, so Frances Hunt resigned her position in 1974 For some months the library operated without a direction, but in 1975 Patricia Porath was appointed to fill the vacancy.
Two ballot measures to raise money for a new Library were defeated. The Friends group was not discouraged and Fund drives were created. In 1991 a generous donation from the Chesborough Family was received. The county had to match one-third of the amount to be granted by the State or $523,333. Donations collected through the Friends amounted to $778,000. The state grant was awarded to us in the amount of $1.57 million on December 19, 1991.
Ground was broken in 1993 and the new Library was officially opened on June 11, 1995.
Compiled by Shirley Huberty from Newspaper articles, Las Calaveras and notes from other writers.
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