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Ruins of the Santa Clara County Courthouse after the 1931 fire. Beams lie atop a cabinet filled with files. Handwritten in pencil on verso of photograph: "Court house records fire." The Santa Clara County Courthouse was located at 161 North First Street. "During a warm afternoon on May 18,1931 the Santa Clara County Courthouse caught fire. The fire started in the upper reaches of the building and spread unchecked through the dome. The raging fire was so intense it caused the copper covered dome to melt and drip down the front steps of the buildings entrance.... The once noble building had suffered significant destruction due to fire, and the adjoining Hall of Records building was also damaged. Although the fire crews protected the exposure from fire, many irreplaceable records dating back to 1854 were lost to water damage." From "San Jose Fire Museum-- Courthouse Fire": http://www.sanjosefiremuseum.com/index.cfm?Category=3&Section=15&PageNum=63&titles=0 (accessed 3/14/11).