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"The Allegheny County Courthouse and Jail" Pennsylvania Things to Do Tip by traveldave

Pennsylvania Things to Do: 180 reviews and 404 photos


Containing the courthouse and county offices for Allegheny County, of which Pittsburgh is the county seat, the Allegheny County Courthouse and Jail has a distinct medieval appearance, with steep slate roofs, walls of granite blocks, turrets, and arched windows.

The present courthouse is the third building that has served as Allegheny County's courthouse and county seat. The first was a wooden structure that was completed in 1794. The second building was completed in 1841, but burned to the ground in 1884. The present courthouse was constructed on the same site that the second building occupied.

A nationwide design competition held for the new courthouse was won by Boston architect H.H. Richardson. His design involved four-story walls enclosing a central courtyard to allow for maximum sunlight and fresh air. Construction on the granite Romanesque building began in 1884, and was completed in 1886

The courthouse building is connected to the county jail across Ross Street to the east by an arched bridge called the "Bridge of Sighs," whose design was based on that of the bridge in Venice of the same name.

The Allegheny County Courthouse and Jail has been listed on the National Register of Historic Places.

Directions: The Allegheny County Courthouse and Jail is located at 436 Grant Street, in downtown Pittsburgh.

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  • Updated Feb 18, 2013
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