History of Old City Hall Facility (SCAC)

History of Old City Hall Facility (SCAC)

The Shasta County Arts Council (SCAC) was established in 1981 as a non-profit corporation to promote artistic awareness and participation in the Shasta County.

As part of the California Arts Council’s State/Local Partnership Program and under resolution from the Shasta County Board of Supervisers, SCAC has consistently fulfilled this position, especially as a liaison between local artists, arts organizations, government agencies and the community.

Based upon an initial Arts Plan developed in 1980-1981, the SCAC began in an office on the second floor of Redding’s Old City Hall building, which was maintained at that time as a gallery by the North Valley Art League.

SCAC relocated its offices to Mistletoe Lane in Redding during the Old City Hall’s renovation in the mid-eighties.

Coming full circle, SCAC re-entered the newly renovated Old City Hall Gallery and Performing Arts Center in March, 1987, as designated stewards of the facility for the City of Redding.

Historically Significant – Culturally Active

Truly a monument to the colorful history of Redding, Old City Hall Arts Center now serves as a central resource for the arts in Shasta County.

The Shasta County Arts Council (SCAC) acts as steward of the historic Old City Hall Arts Center.

The facility houses a gallery, classroom, performance hall, green room, video production studio, and offices for SCAC.  It is surrounded by a small city park, and employs a bricked courtyard for receptions and gatherings.

The gallery offers professional exhibition space to local and regional (Shasta, Siskiyou, Trinity, and Tehama counties) artists, and the upstairs performance hall is perfect for intimate concerts (seating 150), workshops, and receptions.

Built in 1907, this historic building once housed the city’s offices, council chambers, and a police department.  It still contains one of the original jail cells.  Renovated in 1987 to coincide with Redding’s Centennial, Old City Hall received a new cupola and was redesigned to house a gallery and performing arts theater.

Old City Hall was designed by M.W. Herron and built at a cost of $10,000.

There apparently were no celebrations when the 8,400 square foot Old City Hall was occupied in 1907. “In fact, minutes of the board meetings don’t even note when the move was made,” reads a Feb. 11, 1961, article in the Record Searchlight.

It was a point of controversy at the time — the location was thought to be too far from the commercial center of the town (population 3,000), then on California Street.  Opponents “pointed to the county courthouse, built in 1888, as a sad example of bad planning,” the Record Searchlight wrote in 1961. “The county had made the mistake of building way up on the plains’ and obviously would never be in the hub of the town’s activity.”

Eventually the City Council approved the building, 3-2, and authorized purchase of the land (on which sat the home of Dr. Sherman White) with $5,000 in gold coin. The year the building opened, the council accepted the offer of seven palm trees from the Women’s Improvement Club. Two remain today and they tower over the building. The building’s original bell and tower were removed in 1920 after clerks in the building complained that the cupola was making the roof leak.

A facsimile of the cupola was added to the building during its renovation in the late 1980s. In early 1907, the City Council debated issues that sound familiar today — “deciding what to do about Redding’s inadequate’ sewer system and its speed laws, meaning how fast horses should be allowed to gallop down California Street,'” the Record Searchlight wrote.

The city jail on the building’s first floor featured two iron cells manufactured by a local blacksmith, said historian and Superior Court Judge Richard Eaton in a 1976 oral history

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