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Carnegie celebrates 100-year milestone

Whether it was the spot to read a book in the 1920s, play a round of ping-pong in the 1970s, or take in a work of art in the current decade, the Carnegie building has long been a part of Turlock’s landscape.

The site marked its centennial in February, but the special events celebrating the milestone will go on throughout the end of the year.

In a wave of altruism, industrialist Andrew Carnegie took on a campaign to promote education and literacy in the United States by building libraries across the country. Turlock was one of the communities to benefit from his philanthropy and in 1916 the Carnegie Library opened. For more than 50 years the site served as the town’s library until a new library was opened on Minaret Avenue. In the late 1960s and through most of the 1970s, the Carnegie site found new life as the Kaleidoscope, a teen recreation center. In 1984 the site came under the operation of the Turlock City Arts Commission and was used for a variety of artistic endeavors. The facility was undergoing a remodel in 2005, when an arson’s match sparked a fire that left the historic building in ruin. With all but the exterior walls destroyed, it was uncertain if the Carnegie building would rise again or just become part of Turlock’s history. But a concerted effort from a dedicated group revived the facility and created its current incarnation as the Carnegie Arts Center.

“The Carnegie has worn different hats over the years, but it has always been a place for the community,” said Carnegie Arts Center Director Lisa McDermott. “That has been the common thread through all the years.”

The many stories and memories that has shaped the Carnegie in Turlock were published in “100 Stories: Turlock’s Carnegie Remembered” which is currently available for purchase.

The final event will be burying a time capsule on Sept. 9, and the Carnegie is looking for student writers wanting to take their place in the centennial celebration by submitting essays for the time capsule to be opened in 2116.

The purpose of the time capsule essays is to describe what life is like now and what life might be like in 100 years. One winner will be chosen from each of the following age groups: Grades 3-6, Grades 7-9, Grades 10-12. Winning essays will be posted on the Carnegie’s blog, and included in the time capsule. Winners in the first two categories will receive $25 gift certificates to Yogurt Mill; the winner in the Grade 10-12 category will receive a cash prize of $50.

Essays should include the following subjects:
What is life like now? Describe the things you do and see so that someone reading your essay in 100 years can imagine what life was like in 2016. This can be about your hobbies, interests, school, family, friends, neighborhood, etc. What would someone be curious about in the future?

What will life be like for someone your age 100 years from now? Try to envision what students your age will be interested in and what they will be doing in their everyday lives.

What will the Carnegie be used for in 100 years? The Carnegie building began its life as a library where the citizens of Turlock found books to read for fun and reference. One hundred years later, the building is now a center where people come to see and learn about art, music, drama, poetry, and dance; people also come here for meetings and special events. Can you imagine what people might do here in the future?

Essays should be written on a digital device. Make sure that the name, grade, and school are at the top of your essay. Title the essay in this format: last name_first name_ your school & grade (example: jones_charles_wakefield4). Please save your file in the Portable Document Format (.pdf) if you can. If not, please save it in Word format (.doc or .docx).

Email your essay to Essays must be received by 5 p.m. on Sept. 2.

The time capsule presentation on Sept. 9 will be followed by a screening of the film “Back to the Future.”

The centennial will also be celebrated through a series of pop-up exhibitions in the Gemperle Gallery at the Carnegie. The free exhibits will only be up for 10-days at a time and will feature the works of selected area artists.

The Carnegie is located at 250 N. Broadway in Turlock. For more information, call 209-632-5761 or visit