From the Archives: Clogged drain floods courtroom in 1926


This photo, under the headline, “What’s This? Another ‘Break’ at new County Jail,” appeared on Page 2 of the April 17, 1926, Los Angeles Times.

The accompanying story in The Times reported:

Water leaking from a choked drain trap caused a veritable flood at the Hall of Justice yesterday, which disrupted one court session, routing judge, jury, witnesses and spectators, and inundated a number of cells on four floors of the County Jail.

Shortly before 4 p.m., drops of water began to trickle from the $4,000 gold gilded ceiling in Superior Judge Hardy’s courtroom on the eighth floor to the amazement of the judge and others present. When the water began pouring down in streams Judge Hardy called for umbrellas but threw up his hands and ordered court adjourned an hour early.


Buckets, cuspidors and other containers were gathered up and placed about the floor and on the judge’s bench to prevent as much damage as possible. It was predicted by many that the ceiling, made of plaster of Paris, will collapse under the weight of the water. Expensive courtroom equipment was damaged by the leak….

The Los Angeles Hall of Justice opened in 1925. The building sustained extensive damage in the 1994 Northridge earthquake. After undergoing a major restoration, the Hall of Justice reopened in 2015.

This post was originally published on Dec. 18, 2013.

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