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Six Auburn landmarks make national historic list

Three of six have firefighting histories, including iconic firehouses in Downtown, Old Town Auburn
By: Gus Thomson, Journal Staff Writer
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AUBURN CA - Six of Auburn’s iconic buildings – including two quirky 19th century firehouses that have stood the test of time – have been added to the National Register of Historic Places. The buildings were nominated for the prestigious listing last summer by the California State Historical Resources Commission when it met in Auburn. The National Parks made a final determination to add the buildings to the national registry. Old Town Auburn’s rustic business district and the Placer County Courthouse are among the short list of historical structures to have already been given historic designation. Mountain Quarries Railroad Bridge was another recent addition. Auburn City Councilman Mike Holmes said that registry recognition highlights the historic nature of the community, starting with its roots in the Gold Rush. “It makes people more aware of what we have here and should help us promote the city while encouraging more people to visit,” Holmes said. “The community should be proud of what we have here.” The buildings added to the list are: - The Auburn City Hall and Fire House. Completed in 1937, the Works Progress Administration-funded building is a prime example of Streamline Moderne architecture in Auburn. The High Street building served as Auburn’s city hall until 1990 and was also a fire station. Part of the building is now being renovated for use as the Placer Tourism office. - Auburn Fire House No. 2. An Old Town landmark that was recently been refurbished, the distinctive, much photographed, shingle-style building was constructed 121 years ago and served as the rustic business district’s fire house until the 1950s. - Auburn Hose Company No. 1. The El Dorado Street Victorian with a combination of “stick” and Queen Anne architecture was built in 1888 and served both Auburn’s fire department downtown and as the office for a water company. - Auburn Independent Order of Odd Fellows Hall. Located at Lincoln Way and Highway 49, the three-story hall was built in 1894 in the Italianate style and has combined service as a fraternal organization meeting hall with businesses on the ground floor since then. - Auburn Masonic Temple. Architect Allen Fellows is credited with transforming what had been a single story building in 1914 into a two-story landmark that made striking use of a dramatic Gladding-McBean terra cotta façade. - Placer County Bank. Built in the Beaux Arts style in 1913, the building was designed by noted San Francisco architect Charles Sumner Kaiser. During the Depression, more gold was shipped from the bank to the San Francisco mint than from any other financial institution in California. Melanie Barton, Placer County museums administrator, said that the designations won’t preclude interior changes to the building but do apply rules to retain the historic exteriors. “These designations maintain and promote local history,” Barton said. “Whether it’s a museum program or a celebration, they all help. People from around the world are looking for places to visit that have history and it’s a real plus to highlight that.” Barton said some communities have hundreds of buildings on the national register. “Auburn is just getting started,” Barton said.