Washington County History & Landmarks Foundation
P.O. Box 274
Washington, PA 15301

Washington County Courthouse

Washington County CourthouseWashington County is home to many historical structures but of all of them, the courthouse, with its perfection of design and rich history, is the gem of the county's historical buildings.

In 1783, the commissioners began to erect a log courthouse. This first courthouse was a two story log house building near the southwest corner of the designated public square. The total cost of this project was 701 pounds, 8 shillings, and 93/4 pence. The courthouse was used until 1790-91 when a fire destroyed it.

Immediately following the loss of the old courthouse, a new one was started and was finished in 1794. This courthouse was two stories as well, but constructed of brick instead of logs. The cost for the second courthouse was approximately $8,000. The front entrance had a porch with several stone steps leading up to it. There was a vestibule, or hallway, just inside the door with seats on each side for the public. In addition, this hallway lead to a railway that separated the courtroom from the rest of the building. This second courthouse was used until a third courthouse was erected in 1839.

Courthouse Dome
Click the picture to enlarge

Washington County CourthouseIn 1839, contracts for the county's third courthouse began. Final costs approached $25,000. The statue of George Washington which stood on the dome of the courthouse was furnished by James P. Willard. This third courthouse was built of brick and contained two extremely high stories. At the front entrance, one was struck with a colonial theme, as the columns on the porch gave the viewer a colonial impression.

The fourth, and present courthouse, was completed in 1900. The plans were drafted by F. J. Osterling of Pittsburgh, PA. The cornerstone was laid on March 7, 1899. Citizens urged the commissioners to spare no expense in making this county building the most heralded yet.

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