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HISTORY LIVES: Second and Third Courthouses


The editors of the Bucks County Traveler filed the following opinion (abridged) in the January 1954 issue of their magazine:

“Doylestown’s citizenry found out last month that the County Commissioners were planning to tear down the old courthouse and replace it with a large modern structure capable of housing not only the courts but also the county offices. There probably has not been such a wailing and gnashing of teeth in central Bucks since the terrible day in 1876 when the powers-that-be decided to tear down the old 1812 courthouse and replace it with the hulking stone fortress that now serves as our seat of justice. Today’s protests range from claims that there is beauty in the old building (which is more like a castle on the Rhine than an American courthouse) to more justifiable pleas that a large, new building . . .would concentrate parking in an already congested area.

Those who work in the courthouse have known the problems for a long time. The building already is crowded with jurors and a mounting number of legal cases in a county which has almost doubled in population in the past 15 years. Anyway, as far as Traveler can find out, the Commissioners have made up their minds — and we might as well get used to the idea of a new courthouse.”

Note: In 1810 Doylestown succeeded Newtown as the county seat of Bucks because of its more centralized location. The first courthouse was completed in 1812. The second courthouse standing on the left, located on the same site, was erected in 1878. The third courthouse on the right, a seven-story administration building (with a five-story circular judicial wing), was completed in 1960.

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