Center of Law, Politics and Power

Center of Law, Politics and Power (HM234S)

Location: Wilkes-Barre, PA 18701 Luzerne County
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Country: United States of America
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N 41° 15.072', W 75° 52.731'

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"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
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?].
HM NumberHM234S
Placed ByLuzerne County, Luzerne County Historical Society, Delaware & Lehigh National Heritage Corridor, PA Dept of Environ Protect, American Heritage Rivers, US Army Corps of Engineers,
Marker ConditionNo reports yet
Date Added Thursday, November 23rd, 2017 at 1:01pm PST -08:00
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Locationbig map
UTM (WGS84 Datum)18T E 426368 N 4567015
Decimal Degrees41.25120000, -75.87885000
Degrees and Decimal MinutesN 41° 15.072', W 75° 52.731'
Degrees, Minutes and Seconds41° 15' 4.32" N, 75° 52' 43.86" W
Driving DirectionsGoogle Maps
Area Code(s)570
Which side of the road?Marker is on the right when traveling South
Closest Postal AddressAt or near 160-190 N River St, Wilkes-Barre PA 18701, US
Alternative Maps Google Maps, MapQuest, Bing Maps, Yahoo Maps, MSR Maps, OpenCycleMap, MyTopo Maps, OpenStreetMap

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