San Diego’s original federal building and courthouse.

Few people ever see downtown San Diego’s original federal building and courthouse. It stands off the beaten track, surrounded by tall buildings, where few tourists or locals venture.

Some of those who approach the old federal building might have tried to avoid it. That’s because the historic building, built in 1911-13, is presently a U.S. Bankruptcy Court. It’s named the Jacob Weinberger United States Courthouse, home to the United States Bankruptcy Court for the Southern District of California.

According to the court’s website: “In 1906, Congress authorized construction of the first permanent federal building in San Diego, specifically designed to house the U.S. Post Office, the U.S. District Court, and U.S. Customs. It was commissioned on April 5, 1913 as the ‘U.S. Post Office and Custom House.’ The architecture of the building is an eclectic design, blending ‘monumental classicism and Spanish colonial revival,’ creating a federal building that uniquely recognizes San Diego’s Hispanic heritage…”

The building was designed by architect James Knox Taylor, who was Supervising Architect of the United States Department of the Treasury from 1897 to 1912.

Over the years this old federal building has undergone restoration. In my exterior photographs you can see the colonnaded portico and distinctive square towers.

Make sure to visit the court’s website to read much more about the Jacob Weinberger United States Courthouse’s long, colorful history. Among other things, you’ll learn that horticulturalist Kate Sessions, who introduced many of the trees and plants now found throughout Balboa Park, landscaped the building’s grounds, and how in “August of 1917, Postmaster Barrow asked for permission ‘to plow up the large lawn to the south of the building and plant the ground to potatoes, beans, or some other useful vegetable,’ to locally support the World War I war effort.”

I see that tours of the Jacob Weinberger United States Courthouse are available by appointment. One day I’ll go on one and experience the historic building’s interior. Unless I go bankrupt first…

For tour information, click here!

I live in downtown San Diego and love to walk around with my camera! You can follow Cool San Diego Sights via Facebook or Twitter!

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Richard Schulte

Downtown San Diego has been my home for many years. My online activities reflect my love for writing, blogging, walking and photography.

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