Department of Military and Veterans Affairs

New Jersey Historic Trust Affiliated with the Department of Community Affairs

Essex County Court House

New Jersey Historic Preservation Bond Program
Grant Award: $1,181,875 (1997); $831,250 (1996)
Grant Recipient: Essex County Board of Chosen Freeholders
County: Essex
Municipality: City of Newark

The Essex County Court House is a grand example of civic architecture from the American Renaissance period, which expressed a noble vision of the role of the arts in public life. Built in 1906, the courthouse is the work of the renowned Cass Gilbert, architect of the famous Woolworth Building and the U.S. Custom House in Lower Manhattan.

Gilbert's courthouse is perched atop a hill with a broad flight of stairs ascending to a portico supported by eight giant Corinthian columns. The robed figure of Justice, sculpted by Andrew J. O'Conner, is enthroned atop the apex of the building's marble pediment. The building's interior, dominated by a rotunda, is richly decorated with allegorical murals and paintings depicting common law justice in the United States

The 1997 grant funds help interior preservation work, including restoration of the ornamental plaster, murals, stained glass, millwork, stone floors, stairs, balustrades and lighting fixtures of the major public spaces. An earlier grant funded exterior restoration of the marble building including cleaning, repairing, and repointing masonry, restoring windows, and conserving statuary.

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