The Santa Ana Old Orange County Courthouse is a historic building in Santa Ana, California. It was built in 1901 and was the county courthouse for Orange County from 1901 to 1957. The Santa Ana Old County Courthouse was added to the National Register of Historic Places in 1976. The courthouse is now a museum and is open to the public. The Santa Ana Old Orange County Courthouse is a significant example of Beaux-Arts or Romanesque architecture in Orange County. The building is an important part of Santa Ana’s history and is a popular tourist attraction.
The Santa Ana Old Orange County Courthouse was designed by architect Charles Lincoln Strange in the Romanesque style. It is a two-story building with a symmetrical façade. There are two wings on either side of the main entrance, and each wing has a single story. The Old Orange County Courthouse is built of brick and stone and has a tile roof. The building is located in the Santa Ana Civic Center, which also includes the Santa Ana City Hall and the Santa Ana Public Library.
In Santa Ana’s history, the Old Orange County Courthouse played an important role. The building was the site of the trial of Orange County’s first female judge, Carrie Chapman Catt, in 1911. Catt was impeached for allegedly using her position to influence the outcome of a divorce case. The trial resulted in Catt’s acquittal and she served as a judge until her resignation in 1917. The Santa Ana Old Orange County Courthouse was also the site of the trial of Walter C. Riley, who was accused of murdering his wife in 1924. Riley was found guilty and sentenced to death.
In addition to being the site of important court cases in Santa Ana’s history, the Old Orange County Courthouse also played a role in the city’s cultural life. The courthouse was the site of the Santa Ana Symphony Orchestra from 1916 to 1925. The orchestra gave its first public performance in the courthouse’s courtroom in 1916. Later, the orchestra moved to the Santa Ana High School Auditorium and then to the Orange County Performing Arts Center.
From the 1920’s onward, the courthouse increasingly became a symbol of Santa Ana’s Spanish Colonial Revival architectural style. In the 1930s, the courthouse was used as a filming location for the movie “In Old California”, which starred John Wayne. The courthouse was also used as a filming location for the television show “Perry Mason” in the 1950s and 1960s.
In recent history, the courthouse has been used as a museum. The Santa Ana Historical Society operated a museum in the building from 1960 to 1976. In 1976, the courthouse was added to the National Register of Historic Places. The Santa Ana Courthouse Museum Association then took over operation of the museum. The museum is now operated by the City of Santa Ana.
The Santa Ana Old Orange County Courthouse is open to the public and is a popular tourist attraction. The building houses the Santa Ana Historical Society Museum, which has exhibits on the history of Santa Ana and Orange County. The museum is open Tuesday through Saturday from 10:00 am to 4:00 pm. Admission is free.
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