Fentress assessed space needs for the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 9th Circuit. The largest of 12 regional federal appellate courts, the 9th Circuit covers 15 District Courts in the western U.S. in San Francisco and Pacific Islands. As part of the planning effort, Fentress assessed courthouses in Pasadena, CA; Portland, OR; San Francisco, CA; and Seattle, WA. The circuit’s administrative headquarters and main library are located in the James R. Browning U.S. Courthouse in San Francisco. Completed in 1905 and added to the National Register of Historic Places in 1971, the granite-clad Browning Courthouse has a remarkable history.In 1906, a devastating earthquake struck San Francisco and although the courthouse sustained fire damage to the 3rd floor, it was one of the only structures in San Francisco left standing. It was viewed as a symbol of hope to those who survived the disaster.
In 1989, the courthouse sustained substantial structural damage during the Loma Prieta earthquake. As a result of unsafe conditions, the 9th Circuit temporarily relocated from the Browning Courthouse until 1996, when a $91 million renovation to repair and restore the courthouse was completed. Since then, the courthouse has been maintained in excellent condition and is one of the most visually impressive courthouses in the nation. Public tours can be arranged by contacting the circuit. The following video (linked from the circuit’s webpage) provides a detailed history of the courthouse and its importance to those it serves.