Structure Type: built works - public buildings - courthouses

Designers: Curlett, William, Architect (firm); William F. Curlett (architect)

Dates: constructed 1893

2 stories

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1100 Van Ness Avenue
Downtown, Fresno, CA 93724-0002

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San Francisco architect William Curlett thoroughly renovated the existing courthouse, adding two new wings and larger and more prominent copper dome. This courthouse burned and was rapidly rebuilt. It operated as the seat of the CA Superior Court system until 1965.

Building Notes

In 1892-1893, William Curlett stood trial allegedly trying to bribe one of the Counrty Supervisors to utilize a particular furniture company, C.F. Weber and Company, to furnish his new courthouse. According to the 12/1892 complaint, Curlett tried to bribe Supervisors Jake Meyer and W.F. Hanke with $1,000 and $1,150 respectively; the architect insisted that he only asked the supervisors about their suggestions for furniture companies and offered no bribes to steer them to one in particular. On 03/26/1893, the jury indicated to the judge several times that it could not agree; it then rendered a decision acquitting Curlett. (See "Architect Curlett: The Fresno Grand Jury Indicts Him for Offering Bribes," Los Angeles Herald, vo. 39, no. 56, 12/06/1892, and "Curlett Acquitted: Sudden End to the Fresno Bribery Case," San Francisco Call, col. 73, no. 116, 03/26/1893.)

PCAD id: 21069