Courthouse Square

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The rebuilt Courthouse Square set.

Courthouse Square is a backlot located at the Universal Studios Lot in Universal City, California. The set is composed of several facades that form an archetypal American town square with a courthouse as its centerpiece. The set was built for the 1948 film An Act of Murder, and is best known for being featured as downtown Hill Valley in the Back to the Future trilogy, as well as Kingston Falls in the Gremlins series.[1]

Prior to the Back to the Future series, the area was known as Mockingbird Square owing to its role in the film To Kill a Mockingbird. It has been severely damaged by fire several times, including in 1957, 1990 and 2008. It was reconstructed after each incident.


A three-alarm fire broke out at the Universal back lot in the early morning hours on June 1, 2008. It was reported that Courthouse Square was destroyed, though the Courthouse facade and town facade to the north are still standing.[2] The King Kong attraction and New York Street were destroyed.[3] The set had previously been damaged by fire in 1990.[4]


The square redressed for Ghost Whisperer with the pediment portion of the courthouse covered with a different façade.

Following is a partial list of productions that used the Courthouse Square set:[5]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Rudolph, Christopher (12 November 2013). "The Surprising History Of The 'Back To The Future' Clock Tower". HuffPost. Retrieved 27 July 2020. CS1 maint: discouraged parameter (link)
  2. ^ 6/3/08 – Universal Studios Hollywood Backlot Fire Update – News and Photos – MiceChat Archived June 4, 2008, at the Wayback Machine
  3. ^ "Archived copy". Archived from the original on June 3, 2008. Retrieved June 1, 2008. CS1 maint: discouraged parameter (link) CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link)
  4. ^ the – 1990 Fire Archived April 12, 2008, at the Wayback Machine
  5. ^ the – Courthouse Square – Universal Studios Hollywood Archived September 27, 2007, at the Wayback Machine

External links and references[edit]

Coordinates: 34°08′29″N 118°20′59″W / 34.141395°N 118.34978°W / 34.141395; -118.34978