Notice to the Bar:

Effective November 15, 2018, all civil motions in cases assigned to President Judge Emery shall be heard by Judge Michael Lucas in Courtroom No. 5.  Information regarding Judge Lucas’ motions court schedule may be found under the “Motions Court Information.” Listed below.  Civil motions in unassigned civil cases shall also be heard by Judge Lucas.

All motions in Orphans’ Court cases shall be heard by Judge John F. DiSalle on Wednesdays at 9:15 a.m., in Courtroom No. 2.  Advance copies of motions should continue to be sent to the Audit Attorney, Daniel Svidro, Esq., prior to presentation.

If you have a matter currently scheduled before President Judge Emery, the date and time shall remain effective unless you are contacted and told otherwise by the Court or receive an order continuing and/or rescheduling the matter.

The History of the Washington County Courthouse

On October 2nd, 1781, in a humble log cabin, Judge Taylor opened the first session of the Washington County Court. Then, as now, its purpose was to keep domestic peace and decide controversies. The county’s first commissioners, George Valladingham, Thomas Crooks, and John McDowell, authorized the construction of a log cabin courthouse. The land for the courthouse was purchased from David Hoge, founder of a town he called Bassett—which the county commissioners would rename Washington, Pennsylvania.

Before long, the people of Washington County had built a two-story log courthouse at the summit of one of the area’s highest hills. Court sessions no long had to be held in private homes, and a town fanned out around this important and symbolic structure. By 1794, Washington County had a new, brick courthouse. The completion of the National Road (Route 40) in 1818 brought the coal industry to Washington County, which quickly thrived.

By 1824, Washington County felt the need to build a bigger and stronger jail. A limestone prison and a fifteen-foot high wall were erected in the public square near the brick courthouse. The county felt prosperous enough to build a third courthouse in 1842. This courthouse cost $25,000 to build and featured a two-story, octagonal cupola capped with a small dome and a wooden statue of George Washington.

This courthouse lasted until the 1890s, when telephones, electricity, and typewriters began to outstrip the efficiency of the 1842 courthouse. In 1897, the Washington County Bar Association and the commissioners organized a competition to select an architect for the courthouse. The winning architect was a Pittsburgher named Frederick J. Osterling, who was greatly influenced by Parisian architecture. The cornerstone of the new courthouse was placed on March 7th, 1899 and the opening ceremony occurred on November 17th, 1900. Although the project cost an extraordinary $1 million, the public became enamored with the grandeur of the courthouse. This courthouse still stands today, for it is truly the "people’s palace."

- Adapted from The People’s Palace by Mary Brignano

Picture of courtroom interior

Announcements

2018 Stale Case Order Released

Click here to see the 2018 Stale Case Order.

2018 Court Calendar Released

Click here to see the 2018 Court Calendar.

2018 Administrative Regulations Released

Click here to see the 2018 Administrative Regulations.

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Washington County - 27th Judicial District of Pennsylvania
Washington County Court of Common Pleas
Washington County Courthouse
1 South Main Street
Washington, PA 15301
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