Santa Barbara County Courthouse
Santa Barbara County Courthouse, exterior view from the clock tower, showing the Sunken Garden
|Location||Santa Barbara, California|
|Architect||William Mooser III|
|NRHP Reference #||81000177|
|Added to NRHP||January 23, 1981|
|Designated NHL||April 5, 2005|
The Santa Barbara County Courthouse is located at 1100 Anacapa Street, in downtown Santa Barbara, California. The Spanish Colonial Revival style building was designed by William Mooser III and completed in 1929. Architect Charles Willard Moore called it the "grandest Spanish Colonial Revival structure ever built," and the prime example of Santa Barbara's adoption of Spanish Colonial as its civic style. The building replaced a smaller Greek Revival courthouse built at the same location in 1872–88 and badly damaged in an earthquake on June 29, 1925.
The courthouse is composed of four buildings, totaling 150,000 square feet (14,000 m2). It includes a Jail Wing, which is no longer used to hold prisoners. Visitors may take elevators to the summit of the 85 ft (26 m) "El Mirador" clock tower, which 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 just finished restoring the disintegrating fountain in the front.
Occupying an entire city block, the grounds contain a collection of palms and specimen trees from more than 25 countries. The courthouse hosts many events, particularly at the Sunken Garden, site of the 1872 courthouse.
The main entrance to the courthouse features a large façade depicting two enthroned figures; between the figures is an inscription in Spanish reading:
Dios nos dio los campos
El arte humana edificó ciudades
which roughly translates to:
God gave us fields
[But] the skill of man built cities
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