WELCOME County Seats & Courthouses: Indiana - Lycoming WELCOME


Indiana County, Indiana (pop. 14,900). WEST INDIANA & INDIANA, from Atlas of Indiana Co. Pennsylvania, published by F. W. Beers & Co., New York 1871. This map shows the town as two separate entities, which may have referred to local usage or the ward structure of the time. The old courthouse is indicated on the map at Philadelphia and Sixth, while the present courthouse is down the street next to the town library, and located by the red dot. Indiana is the largest town in the county and home to the largest school in the State System of Higher Education, Indiana University of Pennsylvania.

The Courthouse (1968). In 1968 the county opted for a new courthouse in a brick utilitarian style, with a portico to identify it as the courthouse. In front is a statue of James Stewart, the old-time movie actor, who was born in Indiana. The library next door has a (oddly interesting) Stewart Museum. The old courthouse is now a bank office building, refurbished both inside and out, and more significant architecturally. It was built around 1870 in the Second Empire style with a large tower over the front. The original jail and sheriff's residence are at the rear , reached through an enclosed upper story walkway.

Jefferson County, Brookville (pop. 4,230). BROOKVILLE, JEFFERSON COUNTY PENNSYLVANIA, 1895, drawn by T. M. Fowler, Morrisville, Pa., published by T. M. Fowler & James B. Moyer. This is a town view, or panoramic map, from the Library of Congress. The present courthouse is shown on the map sans later additions to the rear. Brookville is the largest town in this rural county.

The Courthouse (1868). The previous brick courthouse was built in 1832 and torn down in 1866, and can be seen in the distance on the left in this 1840 view . The front portion of the present courthouse was put up in 1868 and the rear section added during a rebuilding in 1927 giving the final building an "L" shape. Interior renovations were done in 1976. This courthouse is in the Italianate style with long, narrow arched windows and large, numerous brackets under the eaves. The front has a double curved staircase which is a later addition according to this print from the 1878 Jefferson County Atlas published by J. A. Caldwell. There is a small park in the angle formed by the back wing. The courthouse sits on a corner lot on the north side of the attractive Main Street through Brookville, which has a number of renovated buildings.

Juniata County, Mifflintown (pop. 860). MIFFLINTOWN, from Illustrated Atlas of Juniata County, Pennsylvania, published by Wall, Mann & Hall, Philadelphia, 1877. The present courthouse with its expansive grounds is prominent on this classic county atlas map. Mifflintown even today is a small town and lies along the Juniata River; remnants of the Pennsylvania Canal system are shown on the map.

The Courthouse (1875). Mifflintown is a pleasant small village in this small and rural county. The old courthouse can be seen in the far distance in this circa 1840 view from across the river. The 1875 courthouse sits on the side of a hill a block up from the river. It is of brick in the Classical Revival style popular at the time, with the portico elevated on three arches, and a three stage clock tower with the clock in the center stage. The courthouse occupies its own block with a large front yard and entrances on all sides. There are several decorative touches to this fine building: wall inlays in white stone, small arches and keystones over the windows, the columnar open tower. Quoting Williams: "It ... remains remarkably unchanged. For that reason alone, it is one of the stars on the courthouse circuit." This old print shows the courthouse shortly after it was built.

Lackawanna County, Scranton (pop. 76,420). CITY OF SCRANTON, by A. B. Dunning Jr., Street Commissioner, from Atlas of Pennsylvania 1900 Census, published by Julius Bien & Company, New York 1901. Scranton is rather sprawled out, as the map indicates. The present courthouse is shown occupying a downtown block, which today is nicely landscaped. The city is (was?) the center of the anthracite coal industry, and though it doesn't show, the ground underneath the town and the surrounding area is honeycombed with old mine workings. Lackawanna County, named after the river going through the middle of Scranton, was the last county formed in 1878. It was specifically created so the area politicians could have their own county with Scranton as the seat. This caused such controversy that laws governing county formation were changed, and none have formed since.

The Courthouse (1884). The courthouse is the original building built in the early 1880s for the new county in a highly decorative Romanesque style. The front is the north side toward Washington Street. There is a large projected square tower at right and a smaller projected turret tower at left . The square tower is very decorative with grillwork and raised and recessed stonework. These towers are repeated at the rear facing Adams Street, but in smaller scale. Three elaborate, almost furniture-like, gables topped with finials decorate the complex roof line. Each gable defines a distinctive facade. The right facade has three massive two-story windows, the middle facade over the entrance has three windows that differ in design on each level, and the left facade built into the turret has smaller similar windows on each level. Also to the left, the Linden Street side, is a squat, rectangular 1974 annex faced with stone and connected by a covered hallway. Plans are currently (2006) afoot to raze this annex and return the courthouse and square to their original condition. A couple of the office buildings surrounding the square contain courthouse annexes. The interior has been renovated and modernized, and quoting Williams: "The interior changes, which evidently began in the 1960s, are one of the worst examples of courthouse modernization." This courthouse was obviously built to be a showpiece; what with creating their own county and then putting up this building, the 1880 Scrantonians must have been awfully full of themselves.

Lancaster County, Lancaster (pop. 56,350). CITY OF LANCASTER, LANCASTER CO. This map is from the Atlas of Pennsylvania with Descriptions by H. F. Walling and O. W. Gray, published by Stedman, Brown & Lyon, Philadelphia 1872. It shows the present courthouse sitting two blocks off the main square. Today, Lancaster has two courthouses sitting side by side and connected. This judicial complex occupies the entire block along Duke Street between King and Orange. Lancaster was an important political and economic place in colonial times, but today is best known for Amish farmers. The home of James Buchanan is in Lancaster and a National Historic Landmark. He is the only President from Pennsylvania, and one of the worst in the country's history.

The Courthouse (1854). Early courthouses sat in the town square. The original form of the present Neoclassic courthouse, built in 1854 two blocks east of the square, can be seen in this circa 1875 view before enlargement. Williams calls this style Roman Revival, possibly because of the monumental size and use of a dome rather than bell tower, as on smaller Classical Revival style courthouses. In 1898 the transverse section at the back was added with a portico matching the front; and in 1920 the ground floor at the front was extended forward to the sidewalk. These additions were made in matching style with matching stone to create a harmonious larger building. Harmony was not in vogue when the new courthouse went up in 1970 with its front on Duke Street, and connected at the side to the rear of the old courthouse. This is a utilitarian building in the Modern style, however the architects did attempt some character with alternate horizontal and vertical lines, using different sized brick on the ground floor facing, and the long narrow windowing. This is not a bad building, but for a more successful attempt at modernity, see York County.

Lawrence County, New Castle (pop. 26,310). NEW CASTLE, PENNSYLVANIA 1896, drawn by T. M. Fowler, Morrisville, Pa., published by T. M. Fowler & James B. Moyer. This map, or panoramic town view, is from the Library of Congress and shows the town surrounding the junction of Neshannock Creek with the Shenango River. The courthouse lies on the east side of the creek as indicated by the red dot. New Castle is a small industrial city now recovering from the general troubles of midwest industry in the late twentieth century.

The Courthouse (1852). The courthouse sets on a hill facing west overlooking Neshannock Creek and downtown New Castle which lies between the creek and the Shenango River. The original look of the courthouse can be seen in this view from the panoramic print. This Classical Revival style building was built in 1852 and the lack of symmetry about the portico seen today is due to a later addition. The front is now closed and entrance is through an annex at the rear connected to the courthouse by an enclosed walkway. The tower, original to the design but gone for many years, was restored in 2002.

Lebanon County, Lebanon (pop. 24,460). PART OF LEBANON, from County Atlas of Lebanon Pennsylvania published by F. A. Davis, Reading and Philadelphia 1875. Lebanon is a small city and shown by two large foldout maps in the atlas. This image shows only the western portion including the location of the old courthouse on Cumberland Street at the right edge. The approximate location of the present courthouse is shown by the red dot to the south.

The Courthouse (1960). This 1960 courthouse is the exception that proves the rule. It is an undistinguished building on an out-of-the-way back street (near 8th & Oak), and rather hard to find. The building combines both city and county functions plus the police department. Built of yellow brick, its only decorative feature is a metal grate trim above the entrance. Downtown Lebanon has several more interesting buildings from the 19th century.

Lehigh County, Allentown (pop. 106,630). CITY OF ALLENTOWN, from surveys by G. A. Ashbach, Civ. Eng. 1872. This map is from the Atlas of Pennsylvania with Descriptions by H. F. Walling and O. W. Gray, published by Stedman, Brown & Lyon, Philadelphia 1872. It shows the location of the old courthouse, about four blocks from Centre Square. The new courthouse is just across the street. Allentown is the state's third largest city and the metropolitan area includes Bethlehem in the next county.

The Courthouse (1864). Allentown has two courthouses across the street from each other, both in use. The original courthouse was built in 1817 and its look is preserved in this view . It was completely rebuilt in the 1860s, using much of the same stone, in an Italianate style with tower. The front is quite attractive with a Palladian window over an unusual oval doorway. Incongruous additions in both brick and stone were added to the rear early in the 20th century. The present modern eight story courthouse was dedicated in 1965, and was renovated in 2006. It is in the Modern office building style with the only decoration an attractive relief sculpture left of the entrance.

  Luzerne County, Wilkes-Barre (pop. 43,120). CITY OF WILKES BARRE, from Atlas of Luzerne County Pennsylvania published by A. Pomeroy & Co., Philadelphia 1873. The courthouse shown on the map is the old one on the town square, now gone. The present courthouse is located to the north along the river at 200 North River Street indicated by the red dot. Today there is a second bridge across the river here, not shown on this map, and the indicated canal is now gone. The name Wilkes-Barre comes from the last names of two revolutionary era gentlemen, and has to be one of the few hyphenated town names in the country.

The Courthouse (1906). The early courthouses were built in the town square, first a simple log house, followed in 1801 by a colonial style structure shown on the right in this view . This building was replaced in 1856 with a new one, itself demolished fifty years later. When it came time for a new courthouse around the turn of the century, the town square site was thought too small, and the present building was put up in 1903-06 next to the Susquehanna River. This is one of the most architecturally impressive courthouses in the state, a large Beaux Arts structure shaped like a cross (+) with identical six column porticos on three facades. The south facade facing the garden is the main entrance. There is extensive decorative iconography, described in part by Williams. The county website says: "Luzerne County's showpiece, the County Courthouse, is a breathtaking building. This magnificent structure built at the turn of the century contains numerous paintings and architectural designs that enhance the beauty of the structure. From the pillars at the entrance to the third floor courtrooms, each section of the courthouse is unique." This is not an overstatement; this building is right up there near the top of the list in architectural quality among Pennsylvania county courthouses. Lackawanna County was formed by cutting off a chunk of Luzerne, and the munificence of this building was likely a reaction to the courthouse up the valley in Scranton.

Lycoming County, Williamsport (pop. 30,710). CITY OF WILLIAMSPORT, from Atlas of Lycoming County Pennsylvania published by A. Pomeroy & Co., Philadelphia 1873. The map shows the location of the old courthouse which is also where the present one stands. Williamsport lies along the West Branch of the Susquehanna, from which its importance derived in the old days. Today it is best known for hosting the Little League World Series.

The Courthouse (1970). The old courthouse was built in 1860 and replaced a hundred years later by this smooth brown brick one in a Modern style. This is a square building and looks the same on all four sides, although the entrance faces West Third Street. The ground floor is all glass and recessed to form a covered walkway all around. The rest is covered with a smooth glassy brick and a black window treatment that varies at the top to break the monotony. The corners are filled by right angled windows, a nice touch. The building sits back from the sidewalk and is landscaped around including, surprisingly, large trees. There is a newer county office building directly behind, also in modern office building style, but not as handsome as this courthouse.

County Seats







Home Page 16th Century Maps 17th Century Maps 18th Century Maps 19th Century Maps 20th Century Maps References