The Modoc County
Courthouse is the hub of county government and
provides a great deal of aesthetic value to the
county. It is a land mark that can be seen from any
highway or trail coming into Alturas. The beauty and
grandeur of this impressive building is worthy as a
monument for future generations. The planners of
construction in 1914 had wonderful foresight in
building such a superior quality structure. The
timeless architecture and the striking copper
painted dome provides a government seat that any
county would be proud of.
A Brief History of Modoc
There have been a
total of three county courthouses since the county
was created from a section of Siskiyou County on
February 17, 1874. The first county courthouse was
actually a "community building" that served the
public in a variety of ways. Not only court sessions
were held in this building but public meetings,
church services, and dances as well. It was a long
building with a low ceiling that got hot in the
summer and cold in the winter.
The first real county
courthouse was constructed in 1883-1884 and stood at
the site where the Veteran's Memorial Building is
located today (Main and Water Streets). The cost of
this first courthouse was a total of $3,244 and T.B.
Reese was the superintendent of construction. The
building served as the courthouse for nearly 40
years before the present courthouse was built. The
building was torn down in its later years for
Then, in 1914, the
majestic building that still stands today was
designed by Frederick J. DeLonchamps. The building
costs totaled nearly $90,000 with W.N. Concannon
being awarded the general building contract. The
DeLonchamps' plan alone cost a whopping $5,040.
DeLonchamps also designed courthouses in Yolo, and
Riverside counties in California and Washoe County
in Nevada. However, the Modoc County Courthouse is
the only building designed by Delonchamps that is
still being used.
Below is a blueprint sketch made by Frederick J.
DeLonchamps. This was the first view of what the
courthouse would look like before being built in
1914. Click the image to see the larger image.
Below is a picture of the Modoc County
Courthouse still standing today. The building is
still used nearly every day of the year and is
fully functional. Click the image to see the
Design and Structure