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LH Spotlight: William Brennan Courthouse, Jersey City


The William J. Brennan Courthouse was built in 1906 and housed all county courts, until it was abandoned in 1966. It was left for ruins and looted of any brass or valuable materials. Scheduled for demolition, concerned Jersey City citizens, thankfully, realized the history and culture of this architectural masterpiece, and rallied to have it placed on the National Register of Historic Places. It was officially registered in 1970 and underwent a complete restoration throughout the 70's and 80's, finally reopening in 1985.

The courthouse now houses the county's civil courts and several county offices including the Office of the County Executive. Today, the courthouse has regained its former glory with a complete restoration of each ornate detail including the railings, murals, stained glass windows, and, of course, that breathtaking cathedral ceiling.

The artwork on the walls date back to 1910, curated by Francis Millet. Each wall tells a story of our county's history with iconic stories such as those of Lady Liberty, Alexander Hamilton, Richard Varick, John Stevens, and Abraham Zabriskie.

One of the many offices inside the courthouse is the Hudson County Office of Cultural & Heritage Affairs/Tourism Development, which has begun an initiative to bring modern day events into this historic space. They host local arts & music events in the stunning rotunda, inviting all of Hudson County's residents to experience the space. As an outstanding example of American Renaissance ambition and artistry, the office also now offers free, guided tours of the building. Each tour is designed not only to educate, but also to foster a deeper connection to our county's origins.

Tours are available for individuals, families, or groups. All ages and organizations are welcome to take a step back in time and experience this architectural treasure.

To schedule your free, guided tour of the historical William J. Brennan Courthouse, please contact Matt at MCaranante@hcnj.us or call 201-459-2070.

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HEADER PHOTO CREDIT: Danielle Guenther Photography

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