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What to Do? Santa Ana Jury Can Settle It Out of Court

October 14, 1993|ANNE MICHAUD | Anne Michaud is a staff writer for The Times Orange County Edition

If you've ever served on a jury, you know there can be a lot of down time. Recesses, long lunch breaks. And if you've been a juror in Santa Ana, you know there's not much to do in the immediate area.

With an assist from our able Times courthouse reporters, I've pulled together some sites that are worth your while if you've got time on your hands in the Santa Ana courthouse area.

Depending on whether you have a full three hours to kill, or whether your time is more limited, you can choose to see one or all of these fine sights.

Noon to 12:30: Walk over to the Santa Ana Transit Terminal and take the No. 51 bus to MainPlace mall.

12:30 to 1:45: The mall is filled with the usual small shops. Department stores include Robinsons-May, Bullock's and Nordstrom.

The mall is a good place to have lunch. On the second floor is a food court, home to restaurants such as Arby's, Bayou Express, Cafe Sbarro, Gyros Wonders, Hot Dog on a Stick, Potato Works, Surf City Grill and Wiki Wiki Teriyaki.

After lunch, you might want to shop. But if you'd rather walk off your lunch, head over to Broadway. This is a prettier street than Main, and it's less busy. Main Street is also undergoing some unpleasant construction near the mall.

1:45 to 2:45: The walk from MainPlace back to the courthouse area is 1.5 miles. Broadway is lined with palm trees and quaint street lamps.

For the first part of your walk, you'll see mostly county buildings, a few small houses, a clinic. As you approach the intersection with Washington Street, the buildings become more interesting.

Look to your left and you'll see several large Victorian-style homes. To your right, there is the Orleans building, a stately, two-story office building with copper roof and floor-to-ceiling windows.

2:45 to 3: As you approach Santa Ana Boulevard, look to your left and you'll see the Old Orange County Courthouse. If the building looks slightly familiar, that's because it has been the backdrop for more than 30 movies and television shows since 1915.

The red sandstone courthouse appeared in Henry Fonda's TV series "Gideon's Trumpet" in 1979 and in James Earl Jones' series "Gabriel's Fire" in 1990. Director Rob Reiner shot a scene there in July for his upcoming comedy film "North."

The Old Courthouse, the oldest in Southern California, was built in 1901 and served as the center of the county's judiciary until 1968, when most of the court operations were moved to the newer, 11-story complex. All court activity in the building ceased in 1979, but it was used once in 1992 for a trial when the newer facility was overcrowded.

The Old Courthouse underwent a $4.5-million renovation in the early 1980s, and it reopened in 1987 as a county museum and historical center.

The building is open during business hours, from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m., Monday through Friday. Visitors can learn about trials that took place in the courtrooms, see pictures of the courthouse being built and learn some Orange County history.

Department One, the original courtroom with its oak judge's bench and jury box, looks almost the way it did 90 years ago. Old law books still may be found in the judge's chambers, just to the left of the courtroom. The chandeliers hanging from the ceiling use both gas and electricity.


1. Santa Ana Transit Terminal, 400 W. Santa Ana Blvd. It's the starting point for bus No. 51, which goes to MainPlace/Santa Ana and runs every half an hour, even on Sundays and holidays.

2. MainPlace/Santa Ana, 2800 N. Main St. Open 10 a.m. to 9 p.m. weekdays; 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. Saturdays; 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. Sundays. (714) 547-7000.

3. Broadway from 15th Street to Santa Ana Boulevard.

4. Old Orange County Courthouse, 211 W. Santa Ana Blvd., Santa Ana. Historical commission office: (714) 834-5514.

Parking: There is public parking inside the courthouse area. Lots and structures charge varying fees.

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