Much of Somerset County’s rich history is archived within the County Courthouse. Constructed in 1798 by Robert Spencer, the building cost about $5,600 to complete. The building was finished during the spring of 1801 and was occupied for 50 years after that.
In 1850, the Grand Jurors reported that the Courthouse, Jail, and Public Offices were in hazardous condition. It was decided that a new building should be constructed due to the buildings’ extremely poor conditions. On April 5, 1851, Samuel S. Benson began constructing a building of Greek Doric design that would end up costing $16,000 when completed. The old building was removed and a new courthouse was constructed in its place by the late summer of 1853.
A third courthouse was constructed in 1904 after the Grand Jury found that more offices were necessary to suit the county’s needs. Contractor J.C. Fulton and County Commissioners made plans to construct a new and improved courthouse, and bids for construction were held on August 16, 1904. The contract was ultimately awarded to the firm of Caldwell and Drake for $247,444. The new building was rededicated on August 13, 2003.
The County Courthouse has a rich history of trials and has seen cases involving moonshining charges, murder charges, temperance and women’s suffrage rallies, church services, and Ku Klux Klan meetings. For more information about the courthouse, please visit their web site.
Somerset County Courthouse
111 East Union Street
Somerset, PA 15501