Santa Barbara County Courthouse
Santa Barbara County
Location: 1100 Anacapa Street, Santa Barbara
Santa Barbara County Courthouse, exterior view from the Sunken Garden
The Courthouse has been called the most beautiful government building in America. Designed by William Mooser III. and completed in 1929, the Spanish Colonial Revival style building replaced the smaller Greek Revival courthouse of the same location. It is credited with the creation of the trend celebrating the Spanish architectural influences in the region.
The building was dedicated on August 14, 1929 in with the ceremonial setting of a bronze medallion provided by the Native Sons of Golden West. The Supervisors mixed the ingredients of water from each of the California missions with sand and gravel from each of the counties in California on the main stage with a packed crowd of residents and visitors looking on during Old Spanish Days Fiesta.
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. 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 "El Mirador" clock tower for unforgettable views of the city, coast and mountains. 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. 
Dedication plaque at the Santa Barbara County Courthouse.
The main entrance to the courthouse features a large fašade depicting two enthroned figures; between the figures is an inscription in Spanish reading:
DIOS NOS DIO LOS CAMPOS
EL ARTE HVMANA EDIFICIOS CIUDADES
which roughly translates to (per a nearby inscription):
GOD GAVE US THE COUNTRY
THE SKILL OF MAN HAS BUILT THE TOWN
An information booth is located in the lobby near the main archway. The booth is open 8:30am to 4:30pm weekdays and 10am to 4:30pm on weekends. Free docent tours are conducted at 2pm daily except on Sunday. Additional tours are conducted at 10:30am on Monday, Tuesday and Friday. For information, call (805) 962-6464.
This page was last updated July 26, 2009.