14th & Main
Mt. Vernon, IL
Located in the center of Mt. Vernon, the Appellate Courthouse is a
treasure awaiting discovery. The Courthouse was built around 1857 in
the Greek revival style. Anyone interested in historic buildings and
architecture won't want to miss this building and the beautiful
courtroom appointed with walnut benches and judges' chairs along
with other period furnishings. The Courthouse currently houses the
Fifth District Appellate Court for the State of Illinois.
One of the favorite U.S. presidents, Abraham Lincoln, argued cases
at this location including a tax case where he represented Illinois
and The Ox-cart
Local legend has that it took three weeks to bring the twin wrought
iron stairways on the outside front of the building from St. Louis
to Mt. Vernon via ox-cart.
building is a two-story brick built in the shape of a Maltese Cross.
It has simple classic lines with two fluted pillars supporting the
front gable in the center of which is a medallion of the scales of
justice. Visitors will find rooms with extremely high ceilings,
arched openings in the inner walls, and wide woodwork. Originally,
the rooms were heated by huge fireplaces. The ground floor contains
four bedrooms with private baths for the use of the justices when
they are in Mt. Vernon and an apartment for the clerk. The second
floor has the courtroom, the clerk's office, the judges' conference
room, and the attorneys' waiting room.
Emergency Hospital and Clara
Hospital records in Mt. Vernon show that at the time of the tornado
on February 19, 1888, an emergency hospital was housed in the
building under the supervision of Clara Barton, the founder of the
American Red Cross.
The Appellate Court, Fifth
The Fifth District Appellate Court is in session throughout the year
and sits periodically as its judicial business requires.
Historic American Building
The appellate courthouse was selected by the Advisory Committee of
the Historic American Building Survey as possessing exceptional
historic and architectural interest and as being worthy of the most
careful preservation for the benefit of future generations. A record
of its appearance and condition has been made and deposited for
permanent reference in the Library of Congress in Washington, D.C.
Please call in advance to schedule a tour Monday-Friday. Tours are free of charge. Closed on weekends and
Photo Credit: Donna Peacock 2002