Colusa County Main Courthouse
In the early nineteenth century, the majority of Californians consisted of natives, those active with Spanish missions, and the generally adventurous individuals on the western frontier of the North American continent. This may have continued indefinitely, except that the now-famous warm climate of California became the poorest-kept secret, and a flood of new pioneers began heading across the Great Plains and Rocky Mountains and into, among other fine destinations, what we know as “The Golden State”. At the time, Colusa bail bonds were a vision of the future, but with the establishment of government and legal systems, they would soon become the reality.
In 1861, the Colusa County Main Courthouse with jail facilities was built at its present location on Market Street. The building displays the Federal/Classic Revival style. The Federal/Classic architecture is characterized by a symmetrical front façade, ornate columns, an accented doorway, and evenly spaced windows on either side of it. A triangular roof, typical of Greek and Roman architecture, is seen above the doorway on the present courthouse. Many Colonial era buildings in the United States follow this style of architecture. Originally, the courthouse had an ornate dome that was consistent with this style, but it could not hold up to the weather. And rather than doing a high-quality repair consistent with the architectural style, the roof was replaced and the current cupola with weather vane was put in the dome’s place.
Visitors to the Colusa Court will certainly admire the marble statue of George Washington. The statue was a gift from the Washington National Monument Society in return for donations made during the Civil War to help the completion of the Washington Monument (that had been stalled by Congressional action and by the war). Visitors are also encouraged to see the “Veterans Killed in Action” memorial (positioned outside the County Assessor’s office) that was donated in 1997 by local students.
California Historical Landmarks
The Colusa County Main Courthouse was added to the list of California Historical Landmarks (as #890) on July 4, 1976. It is the oldest remaining courthouse in the Sacramento Valley and the second oldest operating courthouse in California (behind only the Mariposa County Courthouse that was built in 1854). In addition to its official capacity, throughout the years the courthouse has been used for all kinds of activities. As the building’s historical marker reports: “…the courthouse also served as the county’s center of cultural, social, and religious activities.” Several different churches and schools made use of its space, and many weddings and funerals have been held there also.
Government Offices and Services
The Hall of Records behind the courthouse was built in 1914, and a connecting wing between the buildings was added in 1949. Some of the governmental offices once housed in the courthouse have been moved to the Courthouse Annex or other facilities. However, many governmental offices remain in the Main Courthouse and Hall of Records (and are generally open Monday through Friday from 8:30am to 5pm). The following is a comprehensive list of such offices:
Courtrooms for all legal proceedings (with all facilities that courtrooms need)
The Assessor’s Office
The Board of Supervisors
The County Clerk’s Office
The County Collector’s Office
Colusa County Sheriff’s Administrative Offices
The Self-Help Center (for help with family legal services)
The Law Library
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