Civil Courts Building


Designed by Klipstein and Rathmann and completed in 1930, the Civil Courts Building was probably one of the last generation of major Beaux-Arts buildings in America. Its form is based off the Mausoleum of Halicarnassus, with an extended base but still containing the Ionic colonnade capped with a stepped pyramid.

John Vachon, Civil Courts, May 1940, Library of Congress, LC-USF33- 001880-M1

Constructed from the money provided by a 1923 voter bond issue, the courthouse serves as a focal point of the City Beautiful Movement’s concept of a Civic Forum where rundown, early Nineteenth-Century tenements once stood. I find myself drawn back to this stunning building whenever I am downtown.




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