The Old St. Louis County Courthouse is the historic courthouse on 4th Street that is technically a combination of both Federal and State Courthouse. First constructed in 1816 and opened in 1864, this courthouse served as the first court to try the infamous case of former slave Dred Scott, today a popular historic and free attraction for all curious visitors. Within these walls you will learn, through daily tours and interactive historical exhibits, all the influence that the judges, citizens, and decisions within have had on the city, state, and national history. Not only will you learn many details of the Dred Scott case, but you will also learn all about the Virginia Minor case, in which women’s rights were fought for and gained.
This significant part of United States history is also a major architectural masterpiece, full of meticulously restored courtrooms throughout. Explore all the special exhibits that show St.Louis’ role in early settlers’ movement westward, as well as the building’s architecture itself, the 194-foot structure claiming the title of the tallest habitable building in Missouri! Currently, the National Park Service is using this Jefferson Memorial Expansion as a temporary visitor center for the arch, its two block distance a convenient answer to the current construction questions. Before you go be sure to check out the Museum Theater, as well as the gift shop within that sells all the best books, videos, apparel, and educational toys that explain the history of St. Louis and also the history of slavery in America.