What is the saying? The best place to hide is in plain sight. Hidden as big as life in Auburn's historic district is the beautiful Auburn Courthouse and Museum. This isn't hyperbole or even a slight exaggeration. This courthouse is the most beautiful building in Auburn, and I'll risk saying all of Placer County. I recently had the honor of sitting on a jury in a trial located in this lovely old building. That experience was not only a privilege as a citizen, but it was also a spellbinding one that can only be explained by familiarizing you with Auburn Court House and Museum. Please read on and consider this your invitation to experience the magic for yourself.
History Holds the Key
Judging by the location of today's population and economic growth, it makes no sense that Auburn is the county seat for Placer County. But a trip back in time provides the answer to this puzzle. As a gold rush era town, Auburn was a distribution point on the stagecoach line from Sacramento to the last point reachable in the foothills. As such, the population grew and became known to hold an inexhaustible power of voting. With that increased population came the need for courts where all citizens of Placer County came to file deeds and mining claims, claim a homestead, record animal brands, etc. All kinds of statistics were collected and recorded at the County seat.
If you love history and want to learn more about Placer County's past, the Auburn Courthouse Museum presents an excellent overview of it. From the era of Nisenans to the second half of the 20th century, this museum exhibits rival those found in larger collections. But even before you reach the museum exhibits, you enter another time and place when walking through the courthouse doors. This building is a showpiece with a deep history of its own.
The Preserving the Crown Jewel of Auburn
The Auburn Courthouse and Museum first cornerstone was laid on July 4th, 1894, and is a source of great pride for Auburn. Listed on the National Register of Historic Places, this grand building was designed in the Classic Revival style and is topped by a bracketed cornice and a dome inspired by the Renaissance Revival. Announcing its place on this registry a plaque proclaiming the property as a Historical Landmark sitting on the site of Auburn's first public hanging area and graveyard.
From 1986 to 1990, millions of dollars were raised to restore this lovely old building; on July 4th, 1994, it once again opened its doors to the public. As a resident Placer County for many years, I remember the courthouse restoration project well. The focus was to restore and repair aging windows but doing so with the greatest of care as to keep the original feel of the building. In addition to addressing the issue of leaking windows, modern energy efficiency was implemented to reduce the building’s energy costs and improve occupant comfort. Those who designed and built the restoration features mastered the art of preserving the past while protecting it for the future.
Energy efficiency solutions to a building that’s constructed of brick and stone presented unique challenges. Between complex electrical wiring and the need to integrate new and old energy systems, those who worked on this project had their work cut out for them. Adding to the challenge was the fact that the work had to be done in a way to minimize disruption to court business. So how close to the mark was the nail hit (ugh, that pun thing again)? As stated earlier, I spent time recently on a jury therefore I had ten days to fully appreciate everything left intact and those features that were improved. This building is a stately one with its past beautifully represented and the needs of those who currently use it attended to with care.
The Auburn Courthouse was dedicated with words that capture the awe-inspiring nature of this building. “This grand building is one of the finest courthouses in the State. None can excel in fine artistic effect. It is our temple of justice, the repositor of our titles, the fortress of our personal and property rights, the fountain head of our school system, the registry of our births, marriages and deaths, and its inmates stand guard by dan and night over peace and good order of our communities.” Honorable James E. Prewett , July 4, 1898. While most of its original functions have been relocated, the significance of its place in Placer County's history remains unchanged.
Stanford Ranch Self Storage
Auburn's history is intricately tied to that of its surrounding communities and its surrounding communities value it for its recreation, dining and shopping offerings. Rocklin and Auburn are a short drive from one another. As your neighborhood self-storage facility, Stanford Ranch Self Storage is dedicated to learning about all our surrounding communities, like Auburn, so that we can help our valued customers fully appreciate the area in which they're living and working. Please help us in that effort by visiting Stanford Ranch Self Storage; while there feel free to tour our state of the art, self-storage facility. We hope to see you soon.
Auburn Courthouse and Museum
101 Maple St.
Auburn CA 95603
The Auburn courthouse building is open Monday through Friday 8 a.m. to 4 p.m.
The museum is open Monday through Saturday 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.