Center of Law, Politics and Power
"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
[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
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 60 times since then and 8 times this year. Photos: 1, 2, 3. submitted on November 23, 2017, by William Fischer, Jr. of Scranton, Pennsylvania.