present Inyo County Courthouse in Independence is the fourth courthouse
since the formation of Inyo County on March 22, 1866. The new county operated from rented office space until June
1868, when a contract was awarded to J. J. Mankin to build a courthouse for
the sum of $9,832. Completed
in 1869, the two-story brick building was destroyed by an earthquake March
second courthouse, a wood frame two story structure, was completed in 1873
by E. Chaquette at an approximate cost of $15,900. On June 30, 1886 a fire broke out in a vacant building in
Independence and destroyed thirty-eight buildings. Although the county records and most of the furniture were
saved, the courthouse was one of the buildings destroyed.
again the Board of Supervisors were required to call for bids on a new
courthouse. A contract was
awarded to M. E. Gilmore to
build the third courthouse for $10,000.
The new building was smaller than the previous building and was
completed in 1887. The third
court house was also a wood frame two story building and was located
immediately southwest of the present courthouse.
The county offices occupied this building for thirty-four years
before it was determined to be too small and was torn down in 1923 after
completion of the present courthouse.
R Weeks was selected as the architect for the fourth courthouse.
Interesting to note that Mr. Weeks was considered one of the
leading architects on the Pacific Coast.
By 1915 he had designed more than 1,000 buildings in California
including most of the Carnegie Libraries in Northern California and many
of the schools built in the state. Other
buildings in Inyo County designed by Weeks include:
Bishop Union High School, Big Pine School, and the Owens Valley
School in Independence (this building has been replaced).
corner stone located on the northeast comer of the new courthouse building
bears W. H. Weeks' name as well as the names of the Board of Supervisors in
1922. The casings, doors,
trim and paneling of the Superior Court Room are oak.
In all, the courthouse is a typical example of design and
architecture in the 1920s. The
Annex was added to the south of the courthouse in 1965 when more space was
required for county offices.
information on this page was obtained from a photocopied document from the
Inyo County Recorder's Office ----- No ownership is
claimed by this site.