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Luzerne County

Luzerne County is named for The Chevalier de Luzerne.


Surrounding County Courthouses: 

N – Wyoming County

E – Lackawanna County and Monroe County

S – Carbon County and Schuylkill County

W – Columbia County and Sullivan County


Created:  September 25, 1786                                     Location in the U.S. state of Pennsylvania

County Seat:

Wilkes-Barre  1786 – present


 County Courthouse – Wilkes-Barre  


Location:  200 North River Street / North Street

Built:  1906 – 1908

Style:  Beaux Arts

Architect:  Frederick J Osterling of Pittsburgh

Contractor:  Wilson J Smith of Wilkes-Barre


Description:  The building faces southeast and  is a three story buff colored Ohio limestone and concrete structure. The building is located on spacious landscaped grounds in the center of Wilkes-Barre. The building is a “cruciform” shape with concrete foundation and walls of Ohio sandstone. There are identical six column porticos on three facades. The south facade facing the garden is the main entrance. On the center of the roof is a large dome. In the interior, the entire rotunda, including the arches of the penetrations under the dome, is finished with marble. The four piers supporting the dome and the rusticated walls of the first story are of Botticino stone, a buff-colored marble resembling Caen stone in color. The cornices, columns, balustrades and corridor wainscoting are of white colored Italian marble, and the wainscoting base of Alps green. Statuary finish bronze has been used effectively in the marble cornice of the second story, and in the marble balustrades of the second floor gallery and main stairway. The floors are of Tennessee marble with those of the corridors, gallery and rotunda being laid in patterns. The interior of the dome is executed in plaster and is colored with the prevailing tone of the Botticino stone. The panels are rettaverte, with such portraits and emblems as are used, painted as cameos. Gold leaf is used on the mouldings. The pendentives are painted with figures on mosaic backgrounds. The vaulted ceilings of the rotunda corridor and entrance corridors are treated with mosaics, the pendentives of the vaults having painted portraits of various people prominently connected with the history of the county. There are four courtroom on the third story and two are finished in mahogany and two in Circassian walnut. The floors are covered with rubber tiling, the draperies are of Orsini silk velour and the electroliers of brass, gold plated. The Each of the third story courtrooms is embellished with a notable mural painting over the judges’ bench: “Justice,” “Prosperity Under the Law,” “The Judicial Virtues,” and “The Awakening of a Commonwealth,” having been executed by Messrs. Edwin H Blashfield, Will H Low, Kenyon Cox and William T Smedley, respectively. There is one courtroom on the second story. The building was restored in 1967. The architect was Carl J Schmitt & Company and the contractor was Raymond R Hedden & Company. The building was restored in 1985. The architect was Gaefano-Serpico. The exterior was restored in 2011. The architect was Eyerman-Csala-Hopeman & Handman and the contractor was D A Notly, Inc.


Note:  The architect Frederick J Osterling of Pittsburgh resigned and McCormack & French were hired to complete the design of Frederick J Osterling. The construction bid was awarded to Joseph Handler Construction Company for $597,000 and permission was granted to withdraw the bid which was then awarded to Wilson J Smith of Wilkes-Barre for the sum of $617,000. Whenever possible, contracts were awarded to local bidders:


Wilson J Smith – stone and iron work, fire-proofing and wood finishing

Cooke Bros., – concrete flooring and walks

Weiss & Jones – heating and ventilating, also grading grounds

E F Roth, generators, wiring, etc.

Voorhis & Murray, furniture

Jonas Long’s Sons, Austrian rugs

Williams & McAnulty – draperies, window shades, rubber matting, etc.

Others having contracts were::

Carlucci Stone Company – marble, ornamental plaster, bronze, and cabinet woodwork, metal furniture, also retaining wall

Otis Elevator Company – elevators

Enos Company – electrical fixtures

Messrs. Kenyon Cox, Edwin H Blashfield, Will H Low and William T Smedley, mural paintings.


See:  National Register of Historic Places – Luzerne County Courthouse


History:  The county was created in 1786 and Wilkes-Barre was selected as the county seat. The first courthouse was a log house erected in 1787. The second courthouse was built in 1801. The third courthouse was designed by Joseph C Wells and built by Wilson Smith in 1856. The courthouse was demolished when the third and present courthouse was constructed in 1906 to 1908 at a cost of $2,000,000.


 County Family Court Courthouse – Wilkes-Barre  



Location:  113 West North Street / North River Street

Built:  1986 – 1988

Style:  Art Deco / Classical

Architect:  Bohlin Powell Larkin Cywinski

Contractor:  Unknown


Description:  The building faces southwest and is a three story buff colored Ohio limestone and concrete structure. The building is located on spacious landscaped grounds in the center of Wilkes-Barre on the north side of the courthouse. The building is rectangular with a projecting entrance section at the southeast side rising to to a peak at the roof line and having a recessed entrance with large window on the second story. The building houses the Family Court and is named as the Brominski Building. 



County Courthouse – Wilkes-Barre 















































County Family Court Courthouse – Wilkes-Barre





Photos taken 2015