San Rafael Courthouse Fire, 1971 (Video)

San Rafael Courthouse Fire, 1971 (Video)

Clip from film produced by San Rafael High teacher David Swindle and his students & the 1976 Marin County American Revolution Bicentennial Commission

Did you see this fire in person and what do you remember about the event?  Discuss below or in the Forum.

9 thoughts on “San Rafael Courthouse Fire, 1971 (Video)

  1. That has been the story all along, that it was a conspiracy set up by the business interests who wanted to build on that spot, but could never be conclusively proven. The courthouse was 99 years old and at 100 it would be protected from ever being torn down. What a magnificent museum it could have become!

  2. I was working at Pacific Telephone as an operator at 1 H Street in San Rafael that night and we watched the flames in sadness as it burned. I will never forget that.

  3. It was a very convenient fire for the business interests who wanted to develop the square. The guy they caught was set-up and the people who planned it got away with it. I’d spent a lot of time in that wonderful old building. Too bad.

  4. I remember the fire, though I did not see it. Kind of like the fires on Cannery Row later. Enabled development of newer buildings. Guess they could not plan a flood. Or maybe it was a legit accident.

  5. I remember this fire well. I was working at the time. I recall that the SRFD thought they had the fire out several times but it would restart even bigger each time. Finally they decided to just let it burn to the ground. The columns in the front survied and some are in use today in San Rafael.