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Riverbank Museum Centennial Celebration Coming
Historical Society board members survey the ground in front of the Riverbank Museum as they plan for a centennial celebration coming up on Monday, Sept. 13. President Kristin Platts, left, and Judie Hardie are deciding where to place the chairs for the expected crowd. The celebration will begin at 6 p.m., on the grass in front of the building, 3237 Santa Fe. Ric McGinnis/The News
The celebration committee of the Riverbank Historical Society meets to discuss plans for the upcoming Centennial Celebration at the museum in downtown. The building was built as a Carnegie Library in 1921, but was given to the city when Stanislaus County took over the library system and built a new branch library building a few blocks further east on Santa Fe Street, in 1975. Ric McGinnis/The News

Riverbank’s Historical Museum, in downtown on Santa Fe Street, will be the site of a centennial celebration on Monday, Sept. 13, at 6 p.m.

Historical Society members have been working on the event for several weeks, and plan to share a bit of the history of the building, how it came to be funded, and especially an unveiling of the new ‘feature’ currently covered up in the southwest corner of the grounds.

The building was built in 1921, with funds donated by steel man Andrew Carnegie and matched by citizens of Riverbank. It served as the community’s library until 1975, when Stanislaus County, which had taken over management of library services everywhere, opened its new branch further east on Santa Fe Street, named for Florence Bessac, one-time editor and publisher of the Riverbank News.

In 1975, the original library building was given to the city of Riverbank, and was used for a time by the Chamber of Commerce.

The building became a museum in 1994 when the historical society was formed to operate and care for it.

The facility was placed on the National Registry of Historic Places in February of 1996 and is the only building with this distinction in Riverbank.

The Historical Society’s mission is to preserve and interpret the history and culture of the Riverbank region, for the education and enrichment of a diverse audience of adults and children who visit. To accomplish this, the museum and its volunteers provide exhibitions, programs, publications and educational experiences for all who stop by the building.