July 22, 2015, Santa Barbara- Like the Spokane County Courthouse and Tarrant County Building, in Fort Worth, Santa Barbara County Courthouse is the majestic centerpiece of its city’s downtown. There are several architectural gems in the central core of this breathtaking mission city. They are eclipsed by the hall of justice. The building is a reconstruction of the first Courthouse, which was destroyed by the 1925 Santa Barbara earthquake.
No detail, interior or exterior, goes unattended by the Courthouse’s housekeeper.
This mural, by Marge Dunlap, is actually on the front of the County Engineering Building, adjacent to the Courthouse. It is, according to the artist’s description, as abstract piece, showing trees as sentient beings that stand guard over the house. There is no reason given for the two moons.
The Spirit of The Ocean Fountain was turned off, in keeping with the spirit of dealing with the drought.
Various miniature sculptures and filigree adorn all areas of the exterior.
Murals are found throughout the building, giving equal presence to the indigenous Chumash people and to the Spanish who settled among them.
Tapestries line the wall, outside the central Court Chamber.
In the former County Supervisors’ room, now called the Mural Room, lies a more elaborate series of murals, showing the Spanish subjugation of the Chumash and other parts of Santa Barbara history.
Here is the first floor lobby. Note the Moorish influence, in the ceiling design.
The Spanish also continued with Romanesque features, which appealed to the designers of the 1927 reconstructed Courthouse.
More Moorish influence appears in the ornate blue and gold ceiling.
This ceremonial planter is one of my favourites.
Finally, here is another section of Santa Barbara history, in the Mural Room.
Here are a couple of other random samples of Spanish influence, on the architecture of the early 20th Century American residents of Santa Barbara.
Despite its sprawling nature, Santa Barbara gave me a very comfortable, cozy feeling, as I walked about downtown. Two miles east, the “Old Mission” awaited.