Posted by ws1 on:
"Occupying an entire city block in downtown Santa Barbara, the courthouse hosts many events, particularly at the Sunken Garden, site of the 1872 courthouse.
The courthouse is composed of four buildings, totaling 150,000 square feet (14,000 m2). The courthouse also contains a Jail Wing; however, the wing is no longer used to hold prisoners. Visitors may take elevators to reach the summit of the 85 ft (26 m) "El Mirador" clock tower. The clock tower also has labeled photographs that show what the viewer is looking at in all directions.
Currently, the Santa Barbara County Courthouse is undergoing several restoration projects in the various wings, and working to fix the disintegrating fountain in the front."
I had never really given much thought to what government buildings might have existed prior to the current 1929 William Mooser courthouse. Maybe I'm the only local who doesn't know all of this, but apparently there were three previous courthouse buildings since the formation of Santa Barbara County in 1850. According to santabarbaracourthouse.org, "County government was housed in an adobe located at Santa Barbara Street and East Carrillo Street, the Aguirre Adobe."
In less than 10 years, the local government had outgrown the Aguirre Adobe, and purchased the city block between Anapamu, Figeuroa, Anacapa and Santa Barbara Streets, and moved into the larger, pre-existing Kays Adobe. County government operated from Kays for roughly 10 years until the California State Legislature approved the building of a 'more modern' structure in keeping with other government buildings throughout the country. A cruciform building was then constructed and built upon for the next several decades, eventually necessitating the demolition of the Kays Adobe to make room for newer buildings. New additions kept popping up right up until the 1925 earthquake, in which the Hall of Records and Courthouse buildings were 'damaged beyond use' along with a huge portion of other Santa Barbara structures.
Above: The 1872 'modern' cruciform Santa Barbara Courthouse. Not sure from which street this was taken, but if enough of you guys are curious, I'll go to the Records office and do a little bit more blueprint digging.
Be sure to check out santabarbaracourthouse.org for more great info and pictures.
The picture at the top of this post is a creative commons image of the Mural Room at the courthouse, courtesy of tkksummers on Flickr.