The Mercer County Courthouse
The Mercer County Courthouse is one of the county’s most prominent historic buildings and is listed on the national registry for historic properties.
This beautiful gothic-style structure sits on one of the highest elevations in Mercer County. Major roads from all points in Mercer County converge on the courthouse and visitors can enjoy its majestic view from miles away. The courthouse’s 160 foot high dome is a reproduction of St. Peter’s Basilica in Rome and was used by airline pilots as a navigational point.
The courthouse is magnificent to tour. Sandstone pillars grace the north (main) entrance. Smaller porches with smaller pillars adorn the east and west entrance. The south (ground) floor entrance, is a two-story balcony with large pillars. Inside are four floors with white marble railings and cathedral ceiling. The center of the roof is ornamented with the glistening dome and huge clock with four dials facing the four cardinal points of the compass. Above the third floor, large murals can be viewed representing Justice, Power of the Law, Innocence and Guilt. On the courthouse lawn is the Civil War Monument, the World War II monument, and the Vietnam Monument – all worth seeing.
The present courthouse is the third on this site. The first was built in 1807, at a cost of $7,116.00, and burned in 1866. The second built in 1866-67, at a reported cost of $98,000 burned in 1907. Construction of the present courthouse was started in 1908 and was dedicated in 1911 at a cost of approximately $500,000.00.
From 2001 – 2004, over $12 million was invested in the courthouse to renovate it while keeping the authentic and historic nature of the building.
Tours of the courthouse can be arranged by contacting the Chief Clerk at the Mercer County Courthouse at 724-662-3800 ext. 2512.
The Courthouse is the center of our historic tour – but much more is still to be found! Just across the street from the Courthouse is the boyhood home of John Armor Bingham, who served as the judge advocate at the trail of the conspirators in the assassination of Abraham Lincoln and the impeachment of Andrew Johnson. Bingham also wrote Section 1, Article 1, of the 14th Amendment to the United States Constitution. The Amendment is still hotly debated throughout the United States. Bingham’s family home is now the Mercer County Republican headquarters.
Nearby, The Mercer County Historical Society offers the best place to learn a lot of the history of Mercer County. The Mercer County Historical Society features an outstanding museum with at least eight rooms of historical artifacts from Mercer County and an extensive genealogical library. Also at the Historical Society is the Helen Black Miller Memorial Chapel built in 1873 and the Thomas McClain Print Shop from the 1840s. The Mercer County Historical Society has a number of offsite facilities including the Caldwell One-Room School, The Raisch log Cabin, rural Life museum and the Indian Grave yard at Custaloga Town.