Northeast View of the Old Court House in Market Street, Philadelphia


This lithographic print shows the Old Court House in Market Street, Philadelphia, built in 1707−10 by carpenter Samuel Powell after the justices complained of having to hold court in an ale-house. The lower level was originally a watch-house, and the courtroom was on the second story. Official proclamations were read from the balcony, which was also where newly appointed governors of Pennsylvania made their inaugural addresses and elections for the county and city of Philadelphia were held before the State House was built. A cupola on the roof held the town bell. After the State House was erected in the mid-18th century and the Philadelphia County Court House in the late 1780s, the utility of the Old Court House was much reduced. It was torn down in 1837, the same year in which William Breton (circa 1773−1855) recorded its appearance in this print. Another of Breton’s lithographs shows the actual demolition of the building. Breton was a watercolorist and early lithographer of Philadelphia scenes, who was active in the city between about 1825 and 1855. He initially made his name by supplying illustrations for John F. Watson’s Annals of Philadelphia, published in 1830.

Date Created

Subject Date

Publication Information

Lehman & Duval Lithography, Philadelphia


Title in Original Language

N. E. view of the old court house in Market Street Philada.

Type of Item

Physical Description

1 print : lithograph ; 17 x 15 centimeters


  • Digital catalog number: POS 496


  1. William L. Breton, Philadelphia on Stone Biographical Dictionary, Library Company of Philadelphia,
  2. Philadelphia on Stone Biographical Dictionary of Lithographers,
  3. John Thomas Scharf and Thompson Westcott, History of Philadelphia, 1609−1884 (Philadelphia: L.H. Everts, 1884).

Last updated: February 26, 2014