San Bernardino City Buildings

The new hall of records is to have a frontage of sixty-six feet on Court Street. Its exterior finish will be of Colton marble and sandstone from Sespe or Mentone. The style of the architecture is termed “modern Moorish.” The interior finish, filings, paneling, columns, etc., will be of Colton marble, oak wood, iron, beveled plate glass, and cathedral glass. The main entrance will be ten feet wide, with an arch height of sixteen feet; the main entrance hall, twelve by eighteen feet; the treasurer’s room, fifteen by thirty feet, with a time-lock, steel-lined vault, 4 x 6 x 10 feet, fire and burglar proof; for special and valuable papers; there is also another vault, seven by four feet eight inches, in this room. The auditor’s office is to be fourteen by twenty-four by twenty-two feet, with an inner gallery for the use of copyists and for storing books; the recorder’s office is four by thirty-nine feet, with a twenty-two foot ceiling, with all needful conveniences and appurtenances. On the upper floor will be the county clerk’s room, forty-four feet eight inches by twenty-nine feet six inches by twenty, with all the necessary fittings and appointments: also three large rooms for uses yet to be deter-mined.

One of the most commendable features of this edifice is the precaution which has been observed against fire, in its planning. Every opening in the entire building will be protected by a rolling steel shutter. The roof will be entirely of iron and terra-cotta, and neither here nor on the outside will there appear a bit of wood. The back part of the building, forty-eight by forty-eight by ten feet, will be of brick twenty inches thick, with an air space in the center, and tied together every four feet with iron anchors. There will also be built in the walls around the entire building above and below each opening, a heavy two-and-a-half inch iron band, well riveted at each corner and each connection, making the building earthquake-proof as well as fireproof. The cost of this building will be $40,000. At present it is in process of construction.

The county courthouse was erected in 1878, and up to 1882 it was the finest building in the county. Its cost was some $40,000, but due allowance must he made for the greater cost of building at the time of its construction, for it by no means bears comparison with less costly edifices of later structure. It is, however, a substantial looking pile, of two stories and a basement, with a cupola. It contains many of the offices of the municipal and county officials, the jail, etc. This building no doubt will be renovated and remodeled, when the completion of the new hall of records shall relieve it from its overcrowded condition.

The opera house is a well-built and well equipped structure. Its seating capacity is 800. Its cost was some $60,000. It was built in 1882.

The principal public school building in the city is a brick edifice built in the form of a Latin cross. Its plan was taken from the Langdon model of a schoolhouse which took the premium at the Centennial Exposition. Its peculiarity is in having a common central corridor into which all of the fourteen schoolrooms open. The furniture is of the latest design of improvement, and the surrounding grounds are well laid out. This institution in aggregation with the other school property of the city reaches a value of $150,000.

Respecting the fifty acres of land for the County Poor House: “This tract of land lies west of Fabun’s Park, on the south side of the street. It contains about eleven acres in alfalfa, 600 peach trees, three artesian wells. Some of the land is wooded, and will afford fuel for years. Lytle Creek runs directly through the land. There are two large reservoirs, one of which receives the continual discharge from two artesian wells, while the third well fills the other reservoir.” On this tract was built in 1886, at a cost of $16,400, a fine brick building for a county hospital. This is a well-arranged and well-conducted institution, where the sick can be cared for with all proper requisites, while the establishment is conducted on an economical basis. It has some thirty acres of land all told, mostly under cultivation.

Source: An Illustrated History of Southern California: embracing the counties of San Diego, San Bernardino, Los Angeles and Orange, and the peninsula of lower California.

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