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Tapping the Scales of Justice - A Dose of Connecticut Legal History


New London Courthouse - A Connecticut Landmark

New London CourthouseIf the walls could talk, what tales the New London courthouse would spin. In 1815, a gala ball was held at the courthouse to celebrate the conclusion of the War of 1812 and the lifting of the blockade of New London harbor. Earlier, under dramatically different circumstances, a makeshift hospital was set up in the courthouse during the Yellow Fever epidemic of 1798.

It is said Patrick Henry argued cases here, Daniel Webster spoke in praise of the Constitution, General Lafayette paid a visit, and Horace Greeley campaigned for Abraham Lincoln. The courthouse even functioned as a Sunday school where Matilda Wright taught children of the poor who were not welcome in area churches.

Built in 1784 to replace the courthouse burned during the American Revolution, the structure supports a distinctive cupola, a Palladian window, and fluted pilasters. Isaac Fitch, a Master Joiner of Lebanon, Connecticut, is generally credited with the design. In 1970, the building was entered in the National Register of Historic Places. Architectural drawings and photos can be viewed at the Library of Congress American Memory web site: http://memory.loc.gov/ammem/mdbquery.html. Fill in the search term box with the terms "New London Courthouse."

Doses of Connecticut Legal History