Although Sonora was incorporated in 1851, Sonora’s City Council, or Board of Trustees, as it was originally called, met in various places around town until 1900, when the council began meeting at the Eureka Engine Co., which was located where City Hall is today.
As a result of two volunteer fire companies — the Eureka and the Independent Hose Co. No. 2 — seeking a common site to share, the council passed a Resolution of Intention in 1938. This resolution proposed the acquisition, construction and completion of a public building to be used for municipal purposes, including a fire station, municipal offices, a library and council chambers. The Public Works Administration authorized a grant in the amount of $15,728, with the city being responsible for the balance. The city awarded the bid, in the amount of $30,885.70, to Tomnitz and King.
When the building was finished in 1939 the south side of the building housed the city library, with the fire bay on the north side. Upstairs were administrative offices, City Council chambers and the firemen’s dorm with kitchen and meeting rooms.
In 1968, when the city council voted for the city library to become part of the Tuolumne County Library system, Sonora’s administrative offices moved downstairs.
By 1997, new fire engines could not be accommodated in the fire bay, and it became increasingly difficult for any engine to enter onto Washington Street. A new fire station was constructed on Shepherd Street, and city administration expanded into the areas previously occupied by the Fire Department.
— Patricia Perry, Historian, City of Sonora