SF Adventures - 9th Court of Appeals tour, Tues Mar 22
Event: Tour of the 9th Circuit Court
Location: James R. Browning United States Courthouse
Enter on 7th at Mission, close to Olli downtown campus. Public transportation is advised. The nearest garage is on 5th and Mission. Each adult entering the building needs to pass through security screening and bring a photo ID. We will be going on a free docent-led public tour of the historic courthouse (approximately 60 minutes,) including the old post office lobby on the first floor and available courtrooms.
The James R. Browning U.S. Courthouse, a National Historic Landmark, was opened in 1905. This magnificent classic Beaux Arts building, reminiscent of Italian Renaissance palazzos, that survived both the 1906 San Francisco earthquake and the 1989 Loma Prieta earthquake, is considered one of America’s most beautiful public buildings. With its opulent ornamentation and surface treatments (enclosed pediments, balustrades, rows of arched windows, and beautiful bronze entry lanterns that replicate 1489 torch-holders for the home of the richest banker in Florence,) it was exceptionally lavish even when constructed. Today it is the headquarters for the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit, which hears appeals from lower court decisions in the federal courts of nine Western states.
Although the building's exterior is impressive in quality of detail, ornamentation, and material; the elegant interiors are even more exquisite! Rare materials on each floor include a range of imported marble of varied colors. The grand first-floor hall, accessible through massive bronze doors, is paneled in black-veined white and green marble with a marble mosaic groin-vaulted ceiling and a ceramic-tile mosaic floor. The rotundas at each end contain stained-glass domes ringed with marble-mosaic tile eagles. The third floor Great Hall is adorned with white marble walls, Doric columns, and a beautiful gold trimmed plaster ribbed vaulted ceiling. It leads to Courtroom One, the most elaborate interior space in the building. It features marble mosaics, columns with carved Corinthian capitals, carved fruit motifs, cast-plaster cupids and flowers, and stained-glass windows. In contrast to the opulence of the Beaux Arts designed spaces, the two courtrooms on the second floor of the 1933-1934 addition are designed in the sleek Art Modern style. Detailing in these spaces include the labyrinth-patterned ceiling, cork walls, and gilded plaster eagles.
Websites to visit for a detailed description are:
Ninth Judicial Circuit Historical Society at www.njchs.org
Federal Judicial Center: Federal Judicial History at www.fjc.gov/history/home.nsf