Reflections on a Visit to the Courthouse

Allegheny Courthouse

A few days ago I took a short trip to the courthouse to see what my interaction with the building would be after learning so much about the structure. I hopped on a 61D and found myself a block away from the courthouse. I walked the block to the courthouse and as I turned the corner I saw the building. It was larger and more impressive than I remembered and was extremely excited to actually go inside. I first entered the courtyard of the old jail and reveled in how large and formidable the stones were. After my brief experience in the former jail courtyard I departed and walked around the courthouse until I reached the main entrance. I noticed many of the things I had learned over the past semester, such as the entrance of the courthouse was now in the former basement due to the ground being eliminated.

Bridge and Jail Allegheny Courthouse

I entered in the middle door and went through a security scanner. After I was cleared to enter I turned to the right and walked up a wide staircase and found myself in the main hall. It was evident to me the entrance used to lead directly to that level and was sad to think about what a great experience I had missed. Nonetheless, I was able to peacefully observe the murals painted on the wall and was greatly surprised at their vast size. For some reason I had expected them to be smaller than they actually were, but the surprise was a good surprise.

Fort Duquesne

In addition, there were more flags than I anticipated. The flags, though I didn’t pay too much attention to them, were very colorful and represented a variety of regions, states, counties, and cities.

I left the main room and began to walk around the second floor looking for a bathroom. Unfortunately I didn’t find one but was able to peer out the vast amount of windows into the courtyard. The courtyard was pleasant to look at and is a healthy avenue for judges and clerks to break from their stressful jobs inside the building.

Courtyard Allegheny Courthouse

As I went up the floors I received a better view of the two towers which were formerly used to circulate air throughout the building. They were much taller than I had envisioned and was surprised at their height.

Bell Tower Allegheny Courthouse

As I took each staircase even higher into the building I began to search for a hallway which would take me over the bridge. When I reached the fourth floor I was greeted by numerous signs which informed me I needed to silence my cell phone because I was near a courtroom. I quickly took a picture of the courtyard and then descended back down the stairs to the previous level. My search for the bridge was in vain and I exited the courthouse soon after and found myself on Ross Street just north of the bridge. I looked around and envisioned what the building must have looked like with the higher ground before it was removed. Regardless of how it used to look the building was still impressive and a pleasurable structure to explore.

Bridge of Sighs

I hope never to be tried in the building and instead will prefer to explore the building in the freedom of the law. A visit is highly recommended for all because it is a relic of times past here in our very own Pittsburgh.

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