SAN DIEGO — Court is back in session at the Whaley House for the first time in 151 years.

The historic building once operated as a fulltime courthouse from 1868 to 1871. It’s located in Old Town, which used to be the seat of government before moving downtown.

The Whaley House is the second courthouse in San Diego and on Tuesday, it revisited its roots. FOX 5 asked the presiding judge before the first hearing how this all came about.

“I was here kind of as a tourist, doing the tour a couple of years ago and I thought wow, it would be a really cool opportunity if I could ever sit in here,” Richard Whitney told FOX 5. “We approached the Whaley folks and they were equally as enthusiastic about it, and so it’s a really exciting opportunity to be able to sit where my colleagues sat in 1871 when it was a rustic and rough and rugged old town before San Diego was fully developed.”

Proceedings are open to the public, but seating will be limited due to the smaller size of the courtroom, which only seats 40 people. No jury will be present. Whitney says everything in the room is original, including the bench and chairs.

People lined up early outside to make sure they got a seat for the hearings. One of them was Rose Marie Bloom-Kampmann, who went to school with Whitney.

“We’re both locals, raised here, so it’s very important significance — Old Town — to our being and living in San Diego and just really appreciate the fact that it’s still here and that it’s going to be utilized again,” she told FOX 5.

Another former classmate of the judge, Peter Arcidiancono also arrived early.

“I don’t know much about the history but I do this is a famous place here in town and a lot of people frequent it and I’m really excited to support Richard,” he told FOX 5.

The court docket is scheduled to have about three to four civil cases heard Tuesday. None of them are criminal.

Whitney says it’s too soon to know for sure but hopes there will be more hearings at the Whaley House in the future.