First San Diego Courthouse

Famous firsts in this courthouse:

  • 1847-1850 Office of the Alcalde (Mexican Mayor) of San Diego
  • 1850 First District Court held in California; meeting place for the Court of Sessions and San Diego County Grand Jury
  • 1850-1868 Office of Mayor and City Clerk; meeting room for the Common Council; San Diego County and Justice of the Peace held court sessions
  • 1852-1853 San Diego Masonic Lodge held meetings here
  • 1853 Headquarters of the U.S. Boundary Commission while mapping the boundary between Baja and Alta California
  • 1853 An Episcopalian Army chaplain led San Diego's first Protestant church service
  • 1853-1869 Office of San Diego County Board of Supervisors

The First San Diego Courthouse replica was dedicated in 1992 and is open to the public. The 1860 jail cell behind the building was dedicated in September, 2001.

Located in San Diego's Old Town State Historic Park, the First San Diego Courthouse is open from 10-5 every day of the week. Admission is free.

Built in 1847 by members of the Mormon Battalion, the courthouse was destroyed in the Old Town fire of 1872, as was much of Old Town and its businesses.

 Judge Oliver S. Witherby was San Diego's first district judge. His portrait, now on display in the reconstructed courthouse, was painted in 1885 by U.S. Army Captain and Medical Doctor William Winder, who had arrived in San Diego in 1854.

Join and support:

First San Diego Courthouse, Inc.
c/o Tim Konold, Esq.
President, FSDC, Inc
401 West A Street, Suite 2600
San Diego, CA 92101