Monterey County Courthouse – Salinas CA


The Public Works Administration (PWA) helped fund construction of the magnificent Monterey County courthouse in downtown Salinas, California, which opened in 1937. New Deal funds supplemented a local bond issue to cover the cost of this large building, which covers a square block.  

The cornerstone makes it clear that New Deal funding came from the PWA, not the Works Progress Administration (WPA), as claimed by the nearby historical marker. This is a common mistake, given the similarity of PWA and WPA.

Robert Stanton was the architect and the design is Classical Moderne.  It was built with a large courtyard, which originally surrounded a much older Victorian courthouse that was torn down as soon as its functions could be transferred to the new structure.

Eminent California sculptor Jo Mora did the sculptures on the exterior of the building: bas-relief heads all around the outside, plaques and capitals at the main entrance in the courtyard, and a pillar in the courtyard fountain (see accompanying entries).

Chester R. Phillips was the project manager for the courthouse construction. It was listed on the National Register of Historical Places in 2008.

The courthouse was renovated in 2018 and now houses the Superior Court of Monterey Countym the District Attorney’s office, Civil Grand Juries and a Law Library, while the California Superior court moved to a new building across the street.


Source notes

National Register of Historic Places Registration form, 2008: (, (, accessed September 5, 2018.

Project originally submitted by Peter Hiller, Jo Mora Collection Curator on July 28, 2008.
Additional contributions by Colleen Bailey, Richard Walker.

We welcome contributions of additional information on any New Deal project site.


Location Info

240 Church St.
Salinas, CA 93901

Coordinates: 36.674084, -121.658120

2 comments on “Monterey County Courthouse – Salinas CA

  1. Ken Towle

    I have some drawings signed ” Robert Stanton Designer.” They are of a proposed home in Montery Ca.. I believe they have been in my family’s possession since the mid 1930’s. I am interested in knowing if they have any historical value as I would like to donate them. Any information would be much appreciated.
    Ken Towle

    • Gabriel Milner

      These are certainly on historical value, although I would contact a local historian to confirm.

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