Essex County Courthouse
- Newark, New Jersey
- Design & Construction:
- 1904-1908 [1901-1902 Irish-1999; 1904-1908 Christen-2001]
- Cass Gilbert
This five-story, marble-clad structure is graced by artwork from some of the best-known artists of the American Renaissance period. The rotunda, dominates the eastern portion of the courthouse and rises four stories in height. Supported on massive stone piers and ringed by staircases and open corridors, the rotunda is crowned by a central Tiffany stained-glass skylight, flanked by two smaller side domes.
The courthouse originally housed all county functions, including courts; the sheriff’s office; a law library; and surrogate, freeholders', and administrative space. In 1929, local architects Guilbert and Betelle renovated the building in conjunction with the construction of a new Hall of Records and a central power plant, and many administrative functions were shifted from the courthouse to the Hall of Records. Guilbert and Betelle then converted the grand jury and freeholders’ meeting rooms into courtrooms and added three more spaces, bringing the number of courtrooms to 10.[Michael Mills, FAIA, and Meredith Arms Bzdak, PhD, Restoring Cass Gilbert's Essex County Courthouse, Incorporating Technology in an Early 20th-Century Masterpiece" American Institute of Architects Newsletter, May 23,2007.]