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Old St. Louis Courthouse Rotunda with Flag B&W | by Nikon66
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Old St. Louis Courthouse Rotunda with Flag B&W

This is the open rotunda area of the Old Courthouse in St. Louis, Missouri, decked out for the 4th of July.


The Old St. Louis County Courthouse was built in 1828 as a combination federal and state courthouse in St. Louis, Missouri. From 1864 to 1894 it was Missouri's tallest habitable building. It was designed by the firm of Lavielle and Morton, which is reported to be the first architect firm west of the Mississippi River above New Orleans.

The Old Courthouse is most famously known for the Dred Scott decision. In 1846 Dred Scott, a slave, sued for his and his wife's freedom as they had been held illegally as slaves in free states. All of the trials, including a Missouri Supreme Court hearing, were held in the Old Courthouse. The case was ultimately decided by the U.S. Supreme Court in 1857, which infamously ruled against the Scotts, holding that that people of African descent brought into the United States and held as slaves (or their descendants, whether or not they were slaves) were not protected by the Constitution and were not U.S. citizens. Although the Supreme Court has never explicitly overruled the Dred Scott case, it has acknowledged that the decision was subsequently overruled by the Fourteenth Amendment in 1868, which begins by stating, "All persons born or naturalized in the United States, and subject to the jurisdiction thereof, are citizens of the United States and of the State wherein they reside."

The land for the courthouse had been donated in 1816 by Judge John Baptiste Charles Lucas and St. Louis founder René Auguste Chouteau Lucas, who had required that the land be "used forever as the site on which the courthouse of the County of St. Louis should be erected." After the courthouse was abandoned by the city in 1930, the Descendants of Chouteau and Lucas sued to regain ownership. In 1935, during the Great Depression, St. Louis voted a bond issue to raze nearly 40 blocks around the courthouse in the center of St. Louis for the new Jefferson National Expansion Memorial. President Franklin D. Roosevelt declared in an Executive Order that the area would be designated a national monument, and the courthouse formally became part of the new monument area in 1940. The Gateway Arch, built in 1965, is also part of the National Expansion Memorial.


Taken with Nikon D800 and 14-24mm f/2.8 Nikkor.


Best viewed on black here: View On Black


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Taken on July 1, 2012