The Second Monroe County Courthouse
The first courthouse for Monroe County was built circa 1821-1822 and served the rapidly expanding population until 1849 when the need for a new, larger courthouse arose. Prominent Rochester architect Merwin Austin was the architect on record for the design of the second courthouse. Andrew J. Warner, Austins nephew, was working for the firm at the time as well and may have also had a part in the design.
Erection began in 1850 (the cornerstone was laid June 20, 1850) on the corner of West Main and Fitzhugh Streets in the City of Rochester. The entire building was finished in 1851, costing the county $70,000.
The new Monroe County Courthouse stood three stories tall plus the basement. The majority of the building was constructed of painted and sanded brick with Onondaga limestone composing the foundation, steps and pavement of the portico. A dome, topped by the statue of Justice completed this beautiful new facility.
A.J. Warner commissioned an artist to carve Justice out of wood (eventually the statue was bronzed). When completed, the statue was eight feet tall and, unlike most depictions of the figure, was not blindfolded. In April of 1852, Justice was mounted on top of the courthouse to look out over the City of Rochester.
When this courthouse was razed in 1894 to make way for the third courthouse, Justice was removed from her perch and stored until she could be placed in a niche in front of the new building.
|Justice being removed from top of second courthouse.||The cleared area showing where the second courthouse stood and where the third one would be built.|
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