Historic Inyo County Courthouse in Independence, California



 A Love Your Parks Tour Law & Order Story by Lisa D. Smith and Nancy J. Reid, assigned by San Diego employment attorney Ward Heinrichs


It was early May, and it was our initial drive out of being “sheltered in place” during the start of the COVID-19 pandemic where we spent three months at our friend’s place out in Twentynine Palms, California, a gateway destination to Joshua Tree National Park. (And yes, we are still friends!). We drove through the Mojave Desert at sunrise and then up past Barstow onto the spectacular Highway 395 that’s flanked by the majestic Sierra Nevada Mountain range to the west, and dramatic Death Valley National Park to the east. We were on our way to Palisade and Grand Junction in Colorado’s Wine Country, by way of Yerington, Nevada.

We passed by Manzanar National Historic Site, through the community of Lone Pine, an access point to Mt. Whitney and a popular filming location. The next town up was historic Independence, California where the Inyo County Courthouse stands proud and grand. Of course, we just had to stop and add this architectural gem to our “Law & Order” story series assigned by attorney Ward Heinrichs.


Built in 1922, the Inyo County Courthouse was designed by architect William H. Weeks in the Classical Revival style and is said to be the only example of “monumental, Neo-Classical Revival architecture” in the Owens Valley area. Having designed over 1,000 buildings by 1915, architect William H. Weeks had built up an impressive reputation, especially for designing libraries, city halls, and courthouses. A few years ago, we saw the city hall he designed in downtown Hollister, California while following the city’s art and architecture walking tour.

The Inyo County Courthouse was listed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1998. The exterior has a lovely rose garden and a plaque honoring the pioneers who settled the area, as well as a giant tufa formation representing the iconic tufa formations found at nearby Mono Lake. Independence is a stop for hikers following the Pacific Crest Trail and is also a gateway to the John Muir Wilderness Area and trails that lead to Kings Canyon and Sequoia National Parks.

The town of Independence was initially the US Army Camp Independence, which was established by Lieutenant Colonel George S. Evans on July 4, 1862. It became the seat of Inyo County in 1866. Noteworthy residents include US Army General John K. Singlaub, and author Mary Austin, who was one of the early nature writers of the American Southwest.

Learn more about Inyo County at https://inyocountyvisitor.com/



No Feedback Received