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Free event open to the public 

Baltimore County Executive Kevin Kamenetz invites the public to a celebration to kick off the County’s participation in the “United We Fight. United We Win” campaign of the United Way of Central Maryland.

FallFest 2017 will be held on Friday, October 20 from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. in the Historic Courthouse gardens along Washington Avenue in downtown Towson. The event will feature scarecrow-making, games and contests, food trucks, vendors, a silent auction, kittens available for adoption, music and more. The event is being held rain or shine.


He encourages people to visit veterans memorials on Historic Courthouse grounds

Baltimore County Executive Kevin Kamenetz released his annual Veterans Day message today:

 

Teri Rising, Historic Preservation Planner
Baltimore County Department of Planning

If you have ever visited the Baltimore County Council Chambers in the Historic Courthouse, you may have been intrigued by the handsome sculptures of historic figures that line the mahogany walls.

photo of Council ChamberThe sculpture subjects span the millennia - representing a sampling of people who have influenced human law throughout history. Some highlights include the Babylonian ruler, Hammurabi, who created one of the first known codes of law; Chinese philosopher Confucius; Moses who presented the Ten Commandments; King John, signer of the Magna Carta; 18th century English lawmaker, William Blackstone and many more. You can read brief write-ups about these influential leaders on the County Planning Office website at  http://resources.baltimorecountymd.gov/Documents/Planning/historic/thelawgivers.pdf (Just scroll down to the “Lawgivers” section.)

A “Temple of Justice for all Admirers to See”

Here’s some interesting background on how these esteemed gentlemen came to reside in the County’s Historic Courthouse…

On October 19, 1854, Coleman Yellott told the crowd gathered to witness the laying of the cornerstone for the new courthouse at Towsontown that he hoped it would always stand as a temple of justice for all admirers to see.[1] When the courthouse was expanded in 1958, the judges of the Baltimore County Circuit Court may have had this idea in mind when they commissioned a series of sculptures called “The Lawgivers” to occupy the mahogany walls of their new main courtroom. 

Shortly after Towsontown was officially chosen to serve as the County Seat, work began on the necessary courthouse. Designed by Dixon and Baldwin, Baltimore County held its first session of court on January 5, 1857. Along with the courtrooms, the three County Commissioners occupied an office space measuring 17 feet by 25 feet. As the County grew, the need for government staff and services increased. To meet the demand, additions were made to the courthouse in 1910, 1925 and 1958.[2]

The 1958 addition included 3 large courtrooms which were considered to be the most modern and spacious in Maryland.  The main courtroom was designed to have a capacity of 120 seats, a far different setting than the original Courtroom Number 5, which had long served the needs of the County’s judicial system.  Designed by the architectural firm Gaudreau and Gaudreau, the main courtroom featured a series of twelve carved figures called “The Lawgivers.” The figures were those who influenced our present day concepts about law and justice and included well known men like Confucius and Caesar.  Carved over a four month period by Baltimore County resident Matthew Peloso, each wood figure is 32 inches high, 2 inches thick and 10 inches wide.[3]  Peloso, who studied for 6 years at the Maryland Institute College of Art, previously worked as a model maker for Black and Decker.  He also designed life-sized figures for the Smithsonian Institution and eventually joined the Engraving Department of the United States Mint where he designed many medals and coins.[4] 

When Charter Government was adopted in 1957, it meant that legislative space for the newly elected 7 member Baltimore County Council needed to be found.  Originally housed in the County Office Building on Chesapeake Avenue, space eventually became available for the Council in the old Courthouse when the Court Building on Bosley Avenue was constructed. In 1975, as part of an extensive renovation of the 2nd floor of the old Courthouse, the main courtroom was reconfigured to serve the needs of the Baltimore County Council.[5]  While some changes were made to the space, “The Lawgivers” continue to silently watch over the affairs of the Baltimore County government at work as they have for more than fifty years. 

Click here to learn more about the men chosen for the carvings.

[1]Coleman Yellot Esq, “Address” (upon the Occasion of the Laying of the Corner-Stone of the Court House of Baltimore County at Towsontown, Towson, MD, October 19, 1854).
[2]Morris L. Radoff. The County Courthouses and Records of Maryland. Part One: The Courthouses. Publication No. 12. Annapolis, MD: The Hall of Records Commission, 1960.
[3]“County Adds 3 Large, Modern Courtrooms,” Baltimore Evening Sun, October 6, 1958.
[4]Q David Bowers, “Appendix I” in Commemorative Coins of the United States: A Complete Encyclopedia (Wolfeboro, NH: Bowers and Merena Galleries, ©1991), 14, accessed May 21, 2015, http://www.pcgs.com/books/commemoratives/AppendixI-014.aspx.
[5]Tom Linthicum and Steven M. Luxenberg, “Councilmen to Get Offices in Towson,” Sun Baltimore, Maryland, February 28, 1975, TOM LINTHICUMSTEVEN, M. L. (1975, Feb 28). Councilmen to get offices in towson. The Sun (1837-1989) Retrieved from http://search.proquest.com/docview/538681780?accountid=34685.

 
 
Revised September 11, 2017