4 Courthouses on Smethport's "Public Square"
Pennsylvania Lumber Heritage Region
Famed Buffalo architect Milton Earl Beebe was hired to design the magnificent 3rd McKean County Courthouse. It was completed in 1881 at a cost of $80,000. Beebe had considerable experience and fame, & the retaining of such a noted architect indicated the newfound importance & wealth of the county.
Before the railroad came to East Smethport in 1875, most of Smethport's buildings were clustered near the courthouse around the "public square” where you are standing now. The courthouse grounds were surrounded by a wooden fence enabling livestock to graze. Once the railroad was in place, however, the town began to spread out more evenly.
No photos or drawings exist of the original 1826 McKean County Courthouse. In 1851 the second McKean Courthouse (above) was built on the public square in the same location as today's courthouse. Just as with the original, 1826 courthouse, the second courthouse was built by famed Smethport architect-builder Solomon Sartwell. The 1851 second courthouse was torn down & replaced in 1881 with the new, modern Martin Beebe structure. (upper right)
(left) The magnificent 1881 Beebe courthouse was tragically destroyed by fire in February 1940.
(above): This 1880 photo shows the construction of the Beebe courthouse. The McKean County Jail, today's McKean County Historical Society Museum, dominates the background.
(left): Originally erected in 1885, the Bucktail Civil War Monument was centered in front of the courthouse, It was moved to its present location to the left front of the courthouse in 1941.
(right) McKean County's fourth courthouse was built in 1940-1941 following the tragic 1940 fire that destroyed the 1881 courthouse. Architect for the 1941 courthouse was Thomas K. Hendryx.
Topics. This historical marker is listed in these topic lists: Architecture • War, US Civil. A significant historical month for this entry is February 1940.
Location. 41° 48.583′ N, 78° 26.833′ W. Marker is in Smethport, Pennsylvania, in McKean County. Marker is on West Main Street (U.S. 6) west of State Street, on the right when traveling west. On the grounds of the McKean County Courthouse. Touch for map. Marker is at or near this postal address: 500 W Main St, Smethport PA 16749, United States of America. Touch for directions.
Other nearby markers. At least 8 other markers are within walking distance of this marker. McKean County (here, next to this marker); Smethport Veterans Memorial (a few steps from this marker); "The Bucktails" (a few steps from this marker);
Credits. This page was last revised on December 30, 2020. It was originally submitted on December 30, 2020, by Craig Doda of Napoleon, Ohio. This page has been viewed 74 times since then and 15 times this year. Photos: 1, 2. submitted on December 30, 2020, by Craig Doda of Napoleon, Ohio. • Bernard Fisher was the editor who published this page.