California's oldest seat of justice still in use. The front half, the original building, completed in 1854, cost $9.200. The lumber was sash-sawed from nearby forests; framework fastened with mortised joints and wooden pegs. Finished lumber was hand-planed and nailed with square-cut nails. A fire-proof brick vault to protect records, added in 1861, was later enlarged. The English-make clock with its 267 lb. bell in the cupola, was installed in 1866 and has been faithfully tolling each hour since.
The courtroom, scene of many famous legal battles, civil and criminal, remains the same as in pioneer days, with original seats, tables and judge's bench.