Saturday, August 30, 2014

Massachusetts Courthouses

Pittsfield Superior Courthouse, photo by Sam Landa
Over a hundred courthouses serve cities and towns in Massachusetts, dealing with issues as diverse as criminal law, civil suits, family law issues, land court, and wills and estates. You can find a guide to the courthouses of Massachusetts on the Commonwealth of Massachusetts website.

Many of these buildings are historically important works of architecture, whether built in the nineteenth century or designed more recently.

Beautiful photographs of many of these buildings may be viewed in the books Courthouses of the Commonwealth, (1984) by George Peet and Gabrielle Keller, and Court House: a Photographic Document, (1978) edited by Richard Pare, which are available at the Massachusetts Trial Court Law Libraries.

Other informative resources on the architecture of our court buildings include A History of Superior Court Architecture in Massachusetts, (2011?) by John C. McConnell, which may also be read online.

Those interested in the building requirements for courthouses in Massachusetts may want to read the Massachusetts Design Guidelines for Courthouses, (1990) prepared by the Massachusetts Division of Capital Planning and Operations, Court Facilities Unit.

So if you happen to be near a Massachusetts courthouse, you may want to stop and appreciate the effort that went into creating the spaces where justice is served and legal research is carried out.