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Wilkes-Barre in Luzerne County, Pennsylvania — The American Northeast (Mid-Atlantic)
 

Center of Law, Politics and Power

 
 
Center of Law, Politics and Power Marker image. Click for full size.
By William Fischer, Jr., November 20, 2017
1. Center of Law, Politics and Power Marker
Inscription.

"The administration of justice is the
firmest pillar of government."

George Washington, 1789

You can't have a county without a county seat. In 1786 Luzerne County formed from Northumberland County. Wilkes-Barre, a place of early settlement, transportation and trade, emerged into the logical center of county government, a place of law, politics and power. The first courthouse opened on Wilkes-Barre's Public Square in 1791. Two larger buildings followed in the 19th century, but not large enough for a booming anthracite mining county. Industrial, commercial and residential growth - all added demands on the legal, judicial and administrative services provided by county government.

Debate over the location of the fourth courthouse lasted several years, taxing the court system itself. The city and county finally agreed on the River Common, where the City Park Commission's glorious landscape improvements would make the riverfront an impressive backdrop to Luzerne County's most important public structure. Tons of fill dumped into the site of an old canal basin created strategic land for the grandiose courthouse.

Pittsburgh architect F. J. Osterling designed the Beaux Arts-style marble and stone monument fronting the Susquehanna. Wilkes-Barre's Joseph Hendler Construction Company headed a talented

Center of Law, Politics and Power Marker image. Click for full size.
By William Fischer, Jr., November 20, 2017
2. Center of Law, Politics and Power Marker
On another side of the three-marker triangular stand
team of masons, stone carvers, carpenters and artists, all hard at work from 1906 to 1909. Walk through the building and view murals commemorating regional history. Look toward the dome to find the four allegorical figures of Moral Laws, Common Law, Statute Law and Equity. Behold Luzerne County's stately Temple of Justice!

[Photo captions, from top to bottom, read]
Orphans Court, circa 1910. Interior plans and furnishings by Wilkes-Barre architects McCormick & French.

Courthouse rotunda, circa 1910.

Courthouse No. 2, one of five courthouses, circa 1910.

Current Luzerne County Courthouse on the River Common, shortly after completion in 1900 [sic - 1910?].
 
Erected by Luzerne County, Luzerne County Historical Society, Delaware & Lehigh National Heritage Corridor, PA Dept of Environ Protect, American Heritage Rivers, US Army Corps of Engineers.
 
Location. 41° 15.072′ N, 75° 52.731′ W. Marker is in Wilkes-Barre, Pennsylvania, in Luzerne County. Marker is on River Street north of Jackson Street, on the left when traveling north. Touch for map. Marker is at or near this postal address: 200 North River Street, Wilkes Barre PA 18711, United States of America.
 
Other nearby markers. At least 8 other markers are within walking distance of this marker. Ellen Webster Palmer (here, next

Luzerne County Courthouse (SW Elevation) image. Click for full size.
By William Fischer, Jr., November 20, 2017
3. Luzerne County Courthouse (SW Elevation)
to this marker); All for the View (here, next to this marker); Luzerne County (within shouting distance of this marker); U.S.S. Wilkes-Barre (about 300 feet away, measured in a direct line); Korean War Memorial (about 300 feet away); 109th Field Artillery Battalion (about 300 feet away); a different marker also named Ellen Webster Palmer (about 300 feet away); Vietnam Veterans Memorial (about 400 feet away). Touch for a list and map of all markers in Wilkes-Barre.
 
More about this marker. The fiberglass marker is deteriorating.
 
Also see . . .  Luzerne County Courthouse Tour Online. (Submitted on November 23, 2017, by William Fischer, Jr. of Scranton, Pennsylvania.)
 
Categories. Notable Buildings
 
 
Credits. This page was last revised on November 23, 2017. This page originally submitted on November 23, 2017, by William Fischer, Jr. of Scranton, Pennsylvania. This page has been viewed 50 times since then. Photos:   1, 2, 3. submitted on November 23, 2017, by William Fischer, Jr. of Scranton, Pennsylvania.
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