At A Glance
Location: 11 N 4th St, St. Louis, MO 63102
The Old Courthouse was built in Downtown St. Louis between 1839 and 1862. Today it’s part of the Gateway Arch National Park, but it features a rich history. Some of American history’s most pivotal cases were tried inside of its courtrooms. It’s the courthouse that saw the trials of both Dred and Harriet Scott when they sued for freedom, and that of Virginia Minor when she fought for her right to vote as a woman. Yet, it also saw the faces and trials of over 300 enslaved African-Americans who filed suit for their freedom.
In 2021, the Gateway Arch Park Foundation and the National Park Service announced that the Old Courthouse will undergo renovations. And this is only the second time in history that the building has undergone significant updates.
So, as of July 2022, the Old Courthouse in Downtown St. Louis is temporarily closed.
What to Expect at The Old Courthouse
The Old Courthouse features breathtaking beauty. You can marvel at the building that was once the tallest inhabitable building in the state from 1864 until 1894.
The property is currently used to host historical events and exhibits, which are also being renovated at the moment. Once the project is complete, the building will be more accessible for handicapped visitors and have an overall facelift. Yet, that’s not all – the exhibits will also be completely reimagined.
In 1847, Dred and Harriet Scott brought their case for freedom to trial at the Old St. Louis Courthouse. Though the case was won in lower court, the ruling was appealed by a higher court. Scott and his family were eventually freed by their owner in 1857.
The Old Courthouse in St. Louis was built from 1864 until 1894, so it’s about 206 years old.
The green dome building that resembles a capital building in St. Louis is the Old Courthouse. This is the location of the infamous Dred Scott hearing in 1847 and the Virginia Minor case in 1850.