Allegheny County Courthouse
436 Grant St
Pittsburgh, PA 15219
Region: Pittsburgh & Its Countryside
The Allegheny County Courthouse is an outstanding example of the Richardson Romanesque style. The complex is dominated by a tall turreted tower. Three murals by Vincent Nesbert decorate the lobby. The building was completed in 1888 and surrounds a large landscaped courtyard. The building's design is medieval in character, with steep slate roofs, massive walls of Worcester granite, turrets and arched windows. Notable history: The first woman to serve as judge in Allegheny County was Sara Mathilde Soffel. Educated in the Pittsburgh Public Schools and graduate of Wellesley College, Sara taught German and Latin at Schenley High School in 1916 during its inaugural year, and also enrolled in the law school of the University of Pittsburgh. She was the first woman to recieve her entire legal education at Pitt Law School and was the top student in the graduating class of 1916. Govenor John Fisher appointed Sara to the bench of the Allegheny County Courts in 1930. She was the first woman to serve as a judge in Allegheny County and the first woman judge in the state of Pennsylvania. Judge Soffel served in the courts for 32 years. During her tenure as judge, she was the first woman to join the Board of Trustees of the University of Pittsburgh.