The First San Diego Courthouse (also the first California County Courthouse) in the San Diego Old Town was constructed by the Mormon Battalion in early 1847 as a way to support the US military garrison during the Mexican-American War. The building served as the city and county courthouse from 1850 to 1869, and was destroyed by fire in 1872.
The First San Diego Courthouse replica was dedicated in 1992 and is open to the public. The 1860 jail cell behind the building was dedicated in September, 2001. Located in San Diego's Old Town State Historic Park, the First San Diego Courthouse is open from 10-5 every day of the week. Admission is free.Built in 1847 by members of the Mormon Battalion, the courthouse was destroyed in the Old Town fire of 1872, as was much of Old Town and its businesses. Judge Oliver S. Witherby was San Diego's first district judge. His portrait, now on display in the reconstructed courthouse, was painted in 1885 by U.S. Army Captain and Medical Doctor William Winder, who had arrived in San Diego in 1854.