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 salvage lumber.
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.
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.
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 larger image.
Design and Structure