Jul 12, 2016

Old St. Louis County Courthouse

The Old Courthouse is part of the Jefferson National Expansion Memorial, along with the iconic Gateway Arch, located in downtown St. Louis, Missouri. Construction began in 1816, however the grand cast iron dome, as it appears today, wasn't completed on the structure until 1864. As I continued my road trip south along the Mississippi River, exploring this courthouse was an unplanned detour and unexpected highlight of my time in St. Louis. 

old courthouse st louis missouri

The Old Courthouse is now operated by the National Parks Service. During my visit I was fortunate to meet Nancy, a park ranger who not only gave a great tour of the structure, but who was also kind enough to mail me a few gazettes about Lewis and Clark. The famous explorers began their expedition not far from here on their way to the Pacific Coast. With all of the places I've been to, I can't emphasize enough what a difference it makes when you meet someone who has a real passion for the location you're exploring.  

old courthouse st louis missouri
old courthouse dome st louis missouriOne story that I found particularly interesting was the case of Dred and Harriet Scott, who were slaves that filed for their freedom at this courthouse in 1846. Their case made it all the way to the United States Supreme Court, where in 1857 it was ruled that the Scotts, and all African Americans, were not citizens of the United States. Opposition to this decision increased tensions and was one of the causes that lead to the American Civil War. 

This structure is truly an underrated gem that many seem to miss on their way to the Gateway Arch. It really is worth your time to explore though, if only to stand in the center of the rotunda to look up into the incredible dome. These are some of the images I captured as I wandered through this historic courthouse in the heart of St. Louis.  

old courthouse st louis missouri



old courthouse st louis missouri

old courthouse st louis missouri


old courthouse st louis missouri

old courthouse st louis missouri


old courthouse st louis missouri


old courthouse st louis missouri

old courthouse st louis missouri

old courthouse st louis missouri
old courthouse st louis missouri

old courthouse st louis missouri

old courthouse st louis missouri

old courthouse st louis missouri

old courthouse st louis missouri

Statue of Dred and Harriet Scott.

old courthouse st louis missouri

old courthouse st louis missouri


old courthouse st louis missouri


old courthouse st louis missouri

old courthouse st louis missouri



old courthouse st louis missouri


old courthouse st louis missouri



old courthouse st louis missouri
old courthouse st louis missouri
old courthouse st louis missouri


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