National Register of Historic Places in Monterey County

National Register #08000878: Monterey County Courthouse in Salinas

National Register #08000878: Monterey County Courthouse in Salinas

National Register #08000878: Monterey County Courthouse in Salinas When we photographed the courthouse, restoration was in progress.

26 May 2018
(Click Photos to Zoom)

National Register #08000878
Monterey County Courthouse
240 Church Street
Built 1937

The Monterey County Courthouse is an example of WPA Moderne architecture integrated with elements of the International Style and embellished with decorative elements depicting scenes and characters from the history of Monterey County and the western United States.

The design was a collaboration between architect Robert Stanton and artist Jo Mora.

Stanton designed the new courthouse, which is composed of two U-shaped wings, around the existing courthouse. Upon completion of the new courthouse, the old courthouse was dismantled leaving behind an open space, which became the interior atrium courtyard of the modern courthouse.

Source: NRHP nomination submitted in 2008.

When we photographed the building in May of 2018, it was undergoing a major renovation.

In 1924, Salinas had the highest per capita income of any city in the United States.

During the growing seasons of the Great Depression, the volume of telephone and telegraph transmissions originating in Salinas was greater than that of San Francisco.

This activity led to a construction boom. Many new buildings, including the Monterey County Courthouse and the Salinas Californian Newspaper Building, were designed in the popular Art Deco and Art Moderne styles.

Source: Salinas Art Deco and Moderne, a brochure published in 2014.

National Industrial Recovery Act of 1933

President Franklin Roosevelt came into office during the worst depression the nation had ever known. Fulfilling a campaign promise to put people to work, he instituted the New Deal to bring economic recovery to the depression-wrought country.

The National Industrial Recovery Act (NIRA) of 1933 authorized the Public Works Administration (PWA) to provide jobs, stimulate business activity, and increase purchasing power through the construction of permanent and socially useful public works. The Federal Government and local city, county and state governments formed a working partnership resulting in the greatest single construction program in history.

PWA construction projects, in addition to providing employment for the skilled, generated a volume of jobs for the unskilled. The PWA provided loans and grants up to forty percent of the total cost of the project to states, and many other public bodies, including schools.

From 1933-1935, the PWA underwrote projects in 3,040 of the 3,073 counties in all forty-eight states. Of the 3.76 billion dollars of the NIRA fund, 2.56 billion dollars was spent on 19,004 construction projects.

Narrative adapted in part from the NRHP nomination for Tulare Union High School Auditorium and Administration Building dated 16 November 1999.

Many buildings funded by the PWA have been recognized for their historic significance and architectural excellence. Among them are:


Adobe Chapel of the Immaculate Conception in San Diego
Aquatic Park in San Francisco
Beach Chalet Murals in San Francisco
Big Basin Redwood State Park Headquarters Building
Big Creek Bridge in Big Sur
Feather River Scenic Byway Tunnels

Federal Building in Merced
Federal Writers and Artists Projects in San Francisco
Gasquet Ranger Station
Mariposa County High School Auditorium
McClatchy Senior High School in Sacramento
Monterey County Courthouse in Salinas

Mountain View Adobe
Police Headquarters, Jail & Courts in San Diego
Rincon Annex Post Office in San Francisco
Sacramento Junior College
San Francisco State Teachers College
Sitka Main Post Office and Court House in Alaska

Sonora Youth Center
Stanislaus Forest Experiment Station
Sunshine School in San Francisco
The Fort in Taft
Theodore Judah School in Sacramento
Tulare Union High School


Carson City Civic Auditorium
Hoover Dam
Southside School in Reno
Tonopah Main Post Office
USO Building in Hawthorne
Yerington Main Post Office

New Mexico

National Park Service Southwest Regional Office in Santa Fe
New Mexico School for the Deaf Building 2 in Santa Fe
New Mexico School for the Deaf Hospital in Santa Fe
New Mexico Supreme Court in Santa Fe


Butte Falls Ranger Station in Butte Falls
Dead Indian Soda Springs Shelter in Rogue River National Forest
Fish Lake Shelter in Rogue River National Forest
Gold Beach Ranger Station
Lake of the Woods Ranger Station in Fremont-Winema National Forest
Lithia Park in Ashland

McKee Bridge Campground in Rogue River National Forest
Wrangle Gap Shelter in Rogue River National Forest

Bryce Canyon Airport
Dalton Wells Civilian Conservation Corps
Minersville City Hall
Rock House in Arches National Park

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