California Supreme Court – San Francisco

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San Francisco

Location:  350 McAllister Street / Polk Street

Built:  1921 – 1922

Style:   Beaux Arts

Architect:  Bliss & Faville and Skidmore Owings & Merrill

Contractor:  Unknown


Description:  The building faces southwest and is a six story gray colored granite and concrete structure. The building is located in the center of San Francisco  in the Civic Center Complex with the San Francisco Courthouse (City Hall) and is named as the Earl Warren Building. The building’s facade features granite and terra-cotta masonry. There are three large arches at the center of the south front with recessed porch and entrances. The second story has arched windows and the fourth story is recessed with small windows. Inside, the courtroom for the Supreme Court located on the fourth story is paneled in oak and features a coffered ceiling and a skylight 30 feet in height. A mural above the judges’ bench depicts a California landscape. The building is part of the Ronald M George State Office Complex along with the Hiram W Johnson State Office Building. The building was damaged by an earthquake in 1989 and remodeled. The architect was Page & Turnbull.


Note:  The building houses the 1st Appellate District Court of Appeal which covers Alameda CountyContra Costa CountyDel Norte County, Humboldt County, Lake County, Marin CountyMendocino County, Napa CountySan Francisco County, San Mateo County, Solano County and Sonoma County.


History:  The Supreme Court of California was created in 1850. The first location was the Graham House, a former hotel on the northeast corner of Kearney Street and Pacific Avenue in San Francisco. The court moved to the California Exchange on the northwest corner of Kearney Street and Clay Street in 1852. The court then moved in 1853 into the former Jenny Lind Theatre on Kearney Street and Portsmouth Square. The court moved to San Jose in 1854. The court occupied rooms in a building at the corner of Pacheco Street and Clara Street. In 1855, the court moved to Sacramento into the B F Hastings Building on 2nd Street between J and K Streets. In 1857, the court moved into the Jansen Building at 4th Street and J Street and returned to the Hastings Building in 1859 to 1869 when the east wing of the State Capital was completed. After 1874, the court held sessions at 640 Clay Street in San Francisco. In 1878, the court could hold sessions in Los Angeles, San Francisco and Sacramento. The first session in Los Angeles was held in the Hellman-Mascrel Block. In 1881, the court in San Francisco moved to the Wakelee Building at 105 Stockton Street and in 1884 to 121 Post Street and in 1890 to the Hale Building at 305 Larkin Street at McAllister Street. In 1896, the court moved to the Parrott Building at 825 Market Street. After the 1906 earthquake, the court moved to the Century Club Building at 1355 Franklin Street and in 1907, moved to the Central Building at 1214 Polk Street at Sutter Street. The court moved to the Wells Fargo Building at 85 Second Street at Mission Street in 1908. In 1923, the court moved to the State Building at 350 McAllister Street. The courtroom was located on the fourth story and was modeled on the United Nations Security Council chamber. Due to the Loma Prieta earthquake in 1989, the court moved to the Administrative Office of the Courts at 455 Golden Gate Avenue. In 1991, the court moved to 303 Second Street. When the renovations were completed, the court returned in 1999 to 350 McAllister Street which was names as the Earl Warren Building.


See:  The California Supreme Court also sits in Supreme Court Branch – Sacrament


See:  County Court in San Francisco County.




California Supreme Court and District Court of Appeal – San Francisco































Photos taken 2015