Guided by Lincoln’s ‘right makes right,’ the Mahoning County Courthouse passes the century mark
BY NATHALIE TAGHABONI
Hiding in plain sight is the Mahoning County Courthouse. The imposing structure stands at the northwest corner of Front and Market streets. The original, much smaller county courthouse stood a little farther north at Wick and Wood streets — where the federal courthouse now stands.
This county courthouse is a five-story building with a many- storied past. If brick and mortar and Ionic columns could speak, one would do well to sit a spell and listen.
Eyebrow-raising in 1908, the construction of the Mahoning County Courthouse cost $1.9 million and was designed by Charles F. Owsley. The officials within transact the usual law, local record-keeping and judicial affairs, surrounded by highly unusual and thoroughly impressive architecture and appointments. The facade, though towering and imposing, does not quite prepare one for the breathtaking interior. The wide entrance stairs give merely a hint of the soaring ceiling, meticulous artwork and perfect symmetry that wait inside.
“Let us have faith that right makes right and in that faith let us to the end dare to do our duty as we understand it.”
These words are attributed to Abraham Lincoln, and they grace the four walls high overhead in the grand center of the building. The ceiling vaults to the very top of the building, letting the sun filter through exquisite stained- glasswork. Recessed lighting throughout lends touches of intriguing shadows with sounds hushed through brilliant acoustical design.
It is a Youngstown site in the heart of town and well worth the visit. Normal hours are Monday to Friday 8:30 a.m. to 4 p.m.