No museum at City Hall — at least for now

By: Jon Brines, Placer Herald Correspondent
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It’s no secret that Rocklin’s granite City Hall is very old. In fact, it is 98 years young and still in operation, serving as the offices for the city manager, clerk and attorney among others. Last week, President of Rocklin’s Historical Society Jim Carlson announced to Rocklin City Council that the society had designs on the 1912 building. It originally served as the company store for the California Granite Company that operated the quarry just yards away from the parking lot more than a century ago. The city bought it for use as its City Hall in 1943. “It looks like a museum,” Carlson told council. “I’m here to request first right of refusal if and when it becomes available. It would provide space that is very much needed.” Just across from City Hall at the corner of San Francisco and Rocklin Road, the society operates a museum in the historic Fletcher House that served as an office and home of the doctor who served the workers of the transcontinental railroad. They also help coordinate weddings and other events at the newly restored St. Mary’s Chapel on Front Street. The city owns both buildings. “We’ve had our eye on the granite building,” Carlson said. “We need to have a more credible history museum.” Carlson said the society would turn it into a larger museum and restore the Fletcher house to its original prime. The society would also work to get a historical status for the building and make it the centerpiece of the historical walking tour of other historical sites including the spot of an infamous gunfight. “We feel like this would be an ideal building and location,” Carlson said. Mayor Scott Yuill and the city council balked at the idea. “Where would the occupants of City Hall go if they vacate the building?” Yuill said. Carlson said with a new city manager being hired at the end of the year, now was the time to make their intentions known. “The new perspective city manager may not prefer the current building,” Carlson said. Councilman Peter Hill said the city is making improvements on the building and has no intentions of giving it up. “It is not going to be up to the city manager if his offices are there or not. It is going to be up to us,” Hill said. “I am not in any way, shape or form ready to give up City Hall.” Councilman George Magnuson said even so he didn’t want the community to think they didn’t support the Historical Society. “The city has demonstrated strong support for the historical society,” Magnuson said. “We purchased St. Mary’s and the whole center down there and bailed you guys out because you over extended yourselves financially when you made the commitment to do that.” Magnuson said the society should book more than 12 weddings a year for the church. Carlson said the bookings are just getting off the ground. “We’ve been pretty self sufficient and proven ourselves,” Carlson said. “We’ve built that building with sweat and tears. We continue to give volunteer hours not to our society, but to our community.” Carlson said the city was making a mistake by not thinking about the potential revenue that could be brought in by tourists who continually come to Rocklin. “We’ve had out-of-state and out-of-country visitors,” Carlson said. “They are staying at hotels and eating in our restaurants.” Councilwoman Kathy Lund suggested the Historical Society try again later. “If the city does decide not to use the building, I’m sure you’ll hear about it,” Lund said. “The Historical Society is not going anywhere.”