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Somerset County

Somerset County is named for Somerset Shire in England.

 

Surrounding County Courthouses: 

N – Cambria County

E – Bedford County

S – Alleghany County, Maryland and Garrett County, Maryland

W – Fayette County and Westmoreland County

 

Created:  April 17, 1795                       Map of Pennsylvania highlighting Somerset County

County Seat:

Somerset  1795 – present

 

County Courthouse – Somerset  

 

Location:  111 East Union Street / North Center Avenue

Built:  1904 – 1906

Style:  Beaux Arts and Classical Renaissance Revival

Architect:  J C Fulton of Uniontown

Contractor:  Caldwell and Drake of Columbus, Indiana

 

Description:  The building faces south and is a three story Indiana gray colored limestone and concrete structure. The building is located on landscaped grounds in the center of Somerset and dominates the town. The building forms a cruciform shape. The exterior is constructed of Indiana limestone with a native sandstone foundation. The south front has a large semicircular portico supported by six Corinthian columns rising to a balcony at the third story. The center section extends from the main building and has two portal windows on the second story and three entrance doors on the first story. On the center of the roof is a large copper dome with clock and small cupola at the top. The roof line is flat with a stone balustrade. In the interior, the building is decorated with Italian and Georgian marble. There is a large, central, open staircase, which rises in three directions from the first story to a mid-story landing and, thence, in two directions to the second story. The staircase railings are walnut; the balusters and staircase posts are ornate, bronze-toned, cast steel. A candelabrum with nine electric lights sits atop each of the for staircase posts. Surrounding the staircase, twelve marble-paneled columns rising from the first story level to an upper level balcony above the second story, support arches upon which rests the stained-glass dome. The two County Court of Common Pleas (Criminal and Civil) courtrooms on the second story, repeat the exterior decor including columns, cornice, and pediment. The bench in courtroom #2 is flanked by an ornate panel bearing the names of the county’s first judges. There is a third courtroom.  The building houses the County Court of Common Pleas (Criminal and Civil) and the County Orphan’s Court of the 16th Judicial District. On the southeast side is the Old County Jail built in 1890 and on the north side is the County Office Building.

 

Note:  The courthouse said to be based on St. Paul’s Cathedral in London, United Kingdom. The green colored dome of this courthouse is the highest in Pennsylvania.

 

See:  The contractor, Caldwell & Drake Construction of Columbus, Indiana also constructed courthouses in Boone County, Monroe CountyPutnam County and Starke Countyin Ohio in Mahoning County and Ottawa Countyand in West Virginia in Wetzel County and Wood County.

 

See:  National Register of Historic Places – Somerset County Courthouse

 

History:  The county was created in 1795 and Somerset was selected as the county seat. The first courthouse was built in 1798. The second courthouse  was built by Samuel S Benson in 1853.on the present hilltop site. The courthouse was torn down when the third and present courthouse was constructed in 1904 to 1906.

 

County Office Building – Somerset  

 

 

Location:  300 North Center Avenue / East Fairview Street

Built:  1998 – 1999

Style:  Modern

Architect:  Eads Architects, Inc.

Contractor:  P J Dick Incorporated

 

Description:  The building faces south and is a three story Indiana limestone, glass and concrete structure. The building is located on the north side of the courthouse in the center of Somerset. The south front has a one story portico at the entrance. Above the portico is a large window rising to a peak at the roof line. The roof line is flat. In the interior is a rotunda extending up to a skylight on the roof. 

 

Note:  The highest point in Pennsylvania is Mount Davis at 3213 feet ( 979 meters ) which is located in the county.

 

 

County Courthouse – Somerset

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

County Court of Common Pleas courtroom

 

 

 

 

County Court of Common Pleas courtroom

 

 

 

 

County Court of Common Pleas courtroom

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Old County Jail – Somerset

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

County Office Building – Somerset

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Photos taken 2011