Merced County Courthouse
Merced's first court hearings took place under a tree on a local
ranch that had been designated the county seat after the county
separated from Mariposa in 1855. Construction was begun in 1874
on this grand Italianate building designed by Albert A. Bennett,
one of the architects of the State Capitol Building in Sacramento.
The courthouse is adorned with three statues of Justice and topped
by a statue of Minerva, the Roman goddess of wisdom. It was used
as the county courthouse until 1950, when the courts moved to
more modern offices. Renovation of the building began in 1975,
and the courthouse was rededicated as a museum in 1983. It is
listed on the National Register of Historic Places.
Courtesy Merced County Courthouse Museum