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Justice Center

First Courthouse and Jail, 1812

This courthouse was built in 1812 and torn down in 1830.

Drawn by Wm. Waterman


Second Courthouse, 1828

This was on the southwest corner of Monumental Park (now Public Square). It was built in 1828 and torn down in 1858.


Third Courthouse, 1858

Exact location unknown.


Fourth Courthouse, 1875

Exact location unknown.


Old Courthouse, 1912

Opened in 1912, the historic old County Courthouse at 1 Lakeside Avenue housed the Common Pleas Court until the Criminal Division moved to the new County Criminal Courthouse in 1931. It currently houses the Domestic Relations Court, the Probate Court and the 8th District Court of Appeals.


County Criminal Courthouse and Jail (1935)

In 1931, the Common Pleas Court Criminal Division moved into this art deco courthouse and jail on East 21st Street. The Criminal Division remained there until the Justice Center opened in 1976. The building fell into neglect and was torn down in the 1990s.

Source: Ohio History Collection, Ohio Memories, Digital Gallery

 


Ontario and Lakeside (1926)

The current home of the Justice Center as seen 50 years before its construction. These buildings were razed to build the Justice Center.


Source: Cleveland Public Library, Digital Gallery


July 10, 1973

The foundation of the Justice Center is being prepared. The building in the lower left was torn down in 1994 to build the jail annex.

Source: Cleveland State University, Michael Schwartz Library, Special Collections


February 1975

Architect Dick Bird discusses a point on one of the upper floors with a representative of Turner Construction and an unidentified person.

Source: Cleveland State University, Michael Schwartz Library, Special Collections

 


June 18, 1975

Mayor Ralph Perk watches as Cleveland Police Chief Gerald Rademaker seals a time capsule into a Justice Center cornerstone.

Source: Cleveland State University, Michael Schwartz Library, Special Collections


Nearly Completed

Construction on the Justice Center took less than four years. The Courts Tower (seen under construction above) stands on the northern corner of the block, and was designed by Prindle, Patrick and Associates. The 25-story structure is 420 feet (130 m) high and contains 44 courtrooms and nine hearing rooms, which are divided between Cleveland Municipal Court and Cuyahoga County Common Pleas Court.


"Portal" Installation, August 24, 1976

Isamu Noguchi's sculpture "Portal" is installed on the east side of the Justice Center.

Noguchi entitled a number of works "portals" that have a kind of arched shape. This abstract tubular form changes its shape, depending on the viewing angle. But in every direction, it has a kind of monumentality--and it is 36 feet high.

Source: Cleveland State University, Michael Schwartz Library, Special Collections


Construction Montage

This montage was part of the commemorative program at the dedication ceremony.


Dedication, September 17, 1976

Source: Cleveland State University, Michael Schwartz Library, Special Collections


Dedication Proclamation, September 17, 1976


First Hearing, September 17, 1976

Judge David Matia conducts the first hearing in the Justice Center from his 17th floor courtroom. The hearing was held even though the Court Tower did not officially open until November 1, 1976. Note that the jury box seats are not yet installed. The seats in the rear of the courtroom are the ones still in use today.

Source: Cleveland State University, Michael Schwartz Library, Special Collections


Courtroom of Judge Leo Spellacy

A look at one of the brand new courtrooms.

Photo courtesy Cuyahoga County Court of Common Pleas


Jury Room

A meeting is held in one of the Justice Center's new jury deliberation room. Some of the jury rooms still contain walls painted with designs from the initial opening in 1976.

Photo courtesy Cuyahoga County Court of Common Pleas


Flooding, January 13, 1982

The Justice Center has been plagued by leaks and water issues since it opened in 1976. In this photo, workers clear water that poured in from a burst sprinkler line. This is to the west of the galleria, at the bottom of the steps leading to the Cuyahoga County Clerk of Courts Office.

Source: Cleveland State University, Michael Schwartz Library, Special Collections


Justice Center

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