About Courthouse Legacy Foundation

sunken gardensA view of the sunken garden which was built on the foundation of the old courthouse after it was destroyed by an earthquake in 1925.

Few structures are more recognizable than the Santa Barbara County Courthouse. Though it looks indestructible, in truth, this massive building is deteriorating from age, environment and public use.

The County of Santa Barbara is responsible for the general maintenance of the Courthouse, but does not have the artistic resources or funds to authentically restore this magnificent structure.

In 2004, a small group of committed citizens came together and formed the Santa Barbara Courthouse Legacy Foundation (CLF), dedicated to the conservation and restoration of this magnificent building for generations to come.

The CLF ensures all conservation, restoration and restoration projects meet federally mandated standards for a National Historic Landmark.


Following the destructive earthquake in 1925, County Supervisors selected the Spanish colonial revival design by master architects at the William Mooser Company. The building’s distinctive design was an integral part of the city’s efforts to embrace a cohesive architectural design aesthetic, which persists to the present day. In just over three years, the building was completed, and serves to this day as an active, working courthouse, housing a law library, Public Records and various County offices.   It is one of the most utilized structures for public events, concerts, private weddings and graduations. Learn more about the Courthouse.

Mission Statement

The mission of the Courthouse Legacy Foundation is to fund the conservation, preservation, restoration, enhancement, and educational legacy of the Santa Barbara Courthouse so that current and future generations can enjoy this important community treasure.


The Santa Barbara Courthouse Legacy Foundation (CLF) is the only organization whose sole purpose is to provide the historic preservation, conservation and restoration of the Santa Barbara Courthouse, consistent with the status as a historic landmark property. The Courthouse was designated a Santa Barbara City Landmark in 1981, a California State Historic Landmark in 2003 and National Historic Landmark in 2005.

Since 2004, the CLF has funded or directed the conservation or preservation of the following projects:

Restored the mural of El Funeral del Gobernador José Figueroa 
Brought together 5 of the 6 Theodore Van Cina murals in the Figueroa Gallery
Facilitated the placement of tile planters in the Hall of Records
Replaced the badly deteriorated "Spirit of the Ocean" fountain
Restored the Heraldic paintings on the panels of the ceiling of the Grand Arch in partnership with the Pearl Chase Society 
Restored all the murals and the ceiling in the Mural Room and upgraded the lighting
Renovated a janitor’s closet into an office for CLF official business use and local artists' gallery
Removed post-historic, blanched coating on stone surfaces of the Great Arch which was causing deterioration
Learn more about our latest project - The Conservation of the Great Arch

Annual 990 or 990ez are available upon request.


Did You Know...

The Santa Barbara Courthouse is among few National Historic Landmarks using geothermal for energy use.