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Potter County Courthouse

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1851–1853, William Bell; 1888–1889, Homer Hall and George Abson. 1 E. 2nd St.

The Potter County courthouse is the focal point of this small town and provides a pleasant block of green space along with the requisite Civil War monument. The building is crowned by a statue of Justice that is unusual because she lacks the traditional blindfold. Because it was built in two parts separated by thirty-five years, the courthouse's proportions and styles are mismatched. The lower two stories, built in the 1850s, are Greek Revival, while the gabled upper portion, added in the 1880s, is picturesque.

William Bell, a contractor from Warren, built the earlier two-story brick rectangle with a pedimented gable end facing the street and a domed two-staged clock tower. Within thirty years, the interior roof beams began to rot, as the accumulation of snow in this mountainous region strained its shallow pitch and caused it to leak. Architect Homer Hall, of Olean, New York, rectified the problem by removing the entire roof and rebuilding it of slate at a much steeper pitch. He added a taller square clock tower with an elliptical dome and large dormer windows on the sides and gave the front gable a triple-arched window. The original entablature circles the building. Hall resigned prior to the completion of the work amidst complaints of its extravagance. George Abson completed the project. The interior reflects many of the changes made in the late 1880s, including a central hall with offices on both sides and a divided staircase leading to the second-story courtroom at the front. Between 1933 and 1934, the Civil Works Administration strengthened the foundation and excavated the basement to create office space.

Writing Credits

Author: 
Lu Donnelly et al.
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Citation

Lu Donnelly et al., "Potter County Courthouse", [Coudersport, Pennsylvania], SAH Archipedia, eds. Gabrielle Esperdy and Karen Kingsley, Charlottesville: UVaP, 2012—, http://sah-archipedia.org/buildings/PA-01-PO1.

Print Source

Cover: Buildings of PA vol 1

Buildings of Pennsylvania: Pittsburgh and Western Pennsylvania, Lu Donnelly, H. David Brumble IV, and Franklin Toker. Charlottesville: University of Virginia Press, 2010, 424-424.

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