Pima County invites the public to a weeklong series of free events to celebrate the reopening of the Pima County Historic Courthouse. From Nov. 15 to 19, the Historic Courthouse will host 47 special events ranging from an interview about former Pima County Deputy Sheriff Wyatt Earp to a presentation by a movie director sharing his secrets about filming in the Sonoran Desert.
The celebration marks the full reopening of the Historic Courthouse, which closed in 2015 for extensive renovations. Though parts of the building have already opened to the public, this event is an opportunity for all to come see the exhibits, meeting spaces and attractions, and learn more about the history and adaptive reuse of this iconic landmark.
The building is rich with history. Among the many highlights is the Dillinger Courtroom, which has seen dozens of high-profile cases over the years, including the arraignment of notorious bank robber John Dillinger and his gang.
The week of events features several opportunities to relive the Courthouse cases that made history, including the storytelling of legal legends Walter Nash and Burr Udall and Wyatt Earp expert Scott Dyke’s discussion on the Earps in Pima County.
Visitors also can identify the sounds of the Sonoran Desert; discover what Juan Bautista de Anza saw in 1775; and broaden their understanding of the region’s gems and minerals at the UA Gem and Mineral Museum.
These and so many more events are now open for registration at this Eventbrite link: http://pimacountycourthouse.eventbrite.com. All events are free, but space is limited to allow for physical distancing. In addition, face coverings will be required inside the building.
Architect Roy Place designed the Historic Courthouse building, which is considered one of the most outstanding Spanish Colonial Revival buildings in Arizona. In 1978, the National Park Service placed it on the National Register of Historic Places, noting its “elegant blue-tiled dome” as the most prominent feature. Today, the iconic mosaic dome serves as the official Pima County logo.
Since it opened in 1929, the Courthouse has undergone a couple of renovations, but none as extensive as the most recent one, which began in 2017 and cost $32 million. Architects, interior designers and contractors worked together on the renovation that encompassed not only the building’s exterior, but also the re-purposed interior that now features offices, a tourist information center and meeting spaces.
The Southern Arizona Heritage and Visitor Center welcomes visitors on the north side of the courtyard; the University of Arizona Alfie Norville Mineral Museum educates them with local marvels on the south side. As in the past, County operations continue on the second floor which houses Pima County Administration, Pima County Attractions and Tourism, and Visit Tucson offices.
The multi-purpose facility contains different meeting spaces for 20 to 124 people, and the courtyard has already been a backdrop for beautiful events from weddings to fund-raising galas. And west of the building visitors will find the January 8th Memorial, an outdoor tribute to the six killed and 13 injured in the Jan. 8, 2011, mass shooting in Tucson.