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Old City Hall, United States Supreme Court

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1790, David Evans Sr., master builder. S. 5th and Chestnut sts.
  • (Photograph by Karen Kingsley)

Designed as a pendant to the courthouse (PH12.4), the city hall completed the principal buildings of State House Square (PH12.6). It was adapted to serve as the Supreme Court after the federal government moved to Philadelphia, a logical decision since the city government was largely judicial in function. Here John Jay presided as chief justice, beginning the process of shaping the new American judiciary. After the removal of the federal government, the building returned to its intended role as the city hall, serving in that function along with the other buildings of the State House group until 1901 when the new city hall (PH49) at Penn Square was completed.

Writing Credits

George E. Thomas


What's Nearby


George E. Thomas, "Old City Hall, United States Supreme Court", [Philadelphia, 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, 58-58.

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