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Delaware County Courthouse

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1849, Samuel Sloan; 1871; 1913; 1930, Clarence W. Brazer, of Brazer and Robb. 201 W. Front St.
  • (© George E. Thomas)
  • (© George E. Thomas)

The town center is dominated by the courthouse. It is Sloan's first documented commission and led to numerous county courthouses commissions across the eastern half of the state—for example, in Lancaster County ( LA15) and the demolished courthouse at Williamsport that was copied in the Northumberland County Courthouse ( NB6). Sloan's design looked something like the nearby Presbyterian church ( DE23) with a classical portico surmounted by a clock tower. In the twentieth century, the tower was removed and the facade was wrapped and enlarged in a Beaux-Arts mode by Clarence W. Brazer. He emphasized the central volume by building an Ionic portico fronting a Roman-gabled volume lighted by an immense thermal window that stands on the foundations of Sloan's original facade. The end facades of the wings are screened by massive Ionic colonnades that are nearly Egyptian in their mass. Embodying a monumental civic ideal that was crystallized in pre–Great Depression America in what historian Lewis Mumford referred to as the “Imperial Age,” the resulting facade is not altogether successful in its elephantine contrast with the simple brick buildings that surround the square. At the east end of the courthouse is a handsome granite monument to the Delaware County infantry, artillery, navy, and cavalry, who fought from Baltimore to Appomattox. The adjacent jail was also by Sloan. The widened Veterans Square in front of the courthouse is the site of several small office buildings that serve the courthouse.

Writing Credits

George E. Thomas


What's Nearby


George E. Thomas, "Delaware County Courthouse", [Media, Pennsylvania], SAH Archipedia, eds. Gabrielle Esperdy and Karen Kingsley, Charlottesville: UVaP, 2012—,

Print Source

Cover: Buildings of PA vol 2

Buildings of Pennsylvania: Philadelphia and Eastern Pennsylvania, George E. Thomas, with Patricia Likos Ricci, Richard J. Webster, Lawrence M. Newman, Robert Janosov, and Bruce Thomas. Charlottesville: University of Virginia Press, 2012, 221-222.

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