The 150th anniversary of the Moniteau County Courthouse celebrates a landmark in California. In the center of the 200 by 200-foot square, the structure holds thousands of records, sees hundreds of cases and is one of the oldest courthouses in the state. Keeping the buildings updated and functional helps the landmark remain a dominate piece of history.
"I would say the architecture and the fact that it is one of the oldest court houses west of the Mississippi that's being used (is what the building is known for)," member of the Moniteau Historical Society James Albin said. "If at all possible, the older buildings if they can be maintained and used, I'm in favor of it."
Construction began in April 1867 and was dedicated in 1868. The two-story building was modeled after the Missouri State Capital building before the 1911 fire. The Moniteau County Court authorized $35,000 for the structure. The courthouse was built with seven rooms on the first floor where offices are currently. The second floor has the court room and more offices. The 20-foot dome can be seen for blocks and old red bricks appear bold and appealing to the eyes.
Still holding on to the original Classical Revival architecture, renovations have been no stranger to the building. In 1905, extensive remodeling was done by O.E. Sprouce. The dome was raised and the leaky roof was fixed. Since then, the updates have grown to include floors, elevators, storm shelters, modern windows and other renovations. This year, new paint, carpet, LED lights and doors at the north and south entrance were added.
"The old doors were beginning to rot out, you couldn't see out wind came around them in the winter time," Presiding County Commissioner Kenneth Kunze said.
In 1849, the first courthouse was built in the same location as the current and was used for 20 years. Inside were two small offices on the lower level and an open second floor. Officials demanded a new courthouse, and 102 years later it was added to the National Register of Historic Places in 1970.
Noting the 150th anniversary, the California Area Chamber of Commerce and California Progress Inc. opened the courthouse for tours during the 28th annual Ham and Turkey festival in September.
"Each year we choose a logo for the festival we try to find something that can be honored due to the length of time they've been in business or existence," executive secretary of chamber of commerce Sandra Ratcliff said. "It helps people become knowledgeable of what our town is all about and what we have here."
A resolution to mark the anniversary was passed August 28, 2018, by state representatives Sarah Walsh and David Wood. The document states that while the building has had a few cosmetic changes over the years, the courthouse is the "fourth oldest operating courthouse that has not had additions built onto its original structure. "