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“Fantastic History”
Review of Old Courthouse

Old Courthouse
Ranked #17 of 258 things to do in Saint Louis
Certificate of Excellence
More attraction details
Attraction details
Recommended length of visit: 1-2 hours
Owner description: Explore a significant part of U.S. history when you visit the Old Courthouse, which was built between 1839 and 1862. Tour this architectural masterpiece with restored courtrooms and experience a time and place where Dred and Harriet Scott sued for their freedom and Virginia Minor fought for women’s right to vote. Through special exhibits, learn about St. Louis’ role in early settlers’ movement into western America. At the Old Courthouse Gift Shop, choose from a wide selection of books, videos, apparel and educational toys related to St. Louis and African-American history. Located just two blocks from the Arch (7 blocks walking distance during construction), the Old Courthouse is serving as the temporary Ticketing and Visitor Center for the Gateway Arch during construction.
Useful Information: Activities for older children, Bathroom facilities, Activities for young children
Madison, Wisconsin
Level 5 Contributor
63 reviews
38 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 51 helpful votes
“Fantastic History”
Reviewed January 30, 2013

The Old Courthouse situated downtown, just blocks from the City Garden, is a genuine delight for American history buffs. The restored courthouse shows some of the splendor of the 1800's along with the darker side of slavery in America.
This is the site of the famous Dred Scott trial which I learned about as a kid in school. Sadly, neither of my children had been taught about this brave man and his trials as both a slave and "freed man". To walk the same floors that he walked gave me a sense of awe as well as connection to Dred and his journey in life.
Definitely worth the stop! There is no admission, a free short film talks about the history of the courthouse and there is a nice and reasonably priced souvenir store inside.

Visited March 2012
2 Thank cindy a
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Janesville, Wisconsin
Level 4 Contributor
37 reviews
9 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 15 helpful votes
“Stand where history was made...”
Reviewed January 27, 2013

Great place! Beautiful and educational. Stand at the place that lit the fuse of the civil war. Outstanding rotunda area, two period courthouses restored to their former glory. Free...

Visited January 2013
Thank deltafox5674
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Hillsboro, Oregon
Level 5 Contributor
98 reviews
24 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 21 helpful votes
“Two historic trials”
Reviewed January 25, 2013

The Old Courthouse in Saint Louis is just a few steps from the Museum of Westward Expansion and well worth a couple of hours. The building has been restored and is in great shape. It was the site of two historic court cases. The first is the famous or infamous Dred Scott case which was a major contributing factor to the Civil War. The rangers have done a great job in presenting a number of posters highlighting the case. That should not be missed. There's a ten minute film on the trial.
However, the rangers has a little exhibit on the Minor versus Happersett which involved the right to vote for women. This deserves a little more space.
There is also four rooms highlighting the history of St Louis. These are very interesting.

Visited January 2013
1 Thank Myles C
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Indianapolis, Indiana
Level 5 Contributor
99 reviews
54 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 30 helpful votes
“History appreciated”
Reviewed January 11, 2013

We appreciated going into the old court house. We thought it was beautiful. We learned a lot in watching the short film about Dred Scott and the exhibits. Not much for kids to do. There is a gift shop. Nice view of the arch.

Visited January 2013
1 Thank mrjonesii
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Washington DC, District of Columbia
Level 6 Contributor
2,743 reviews
1,445 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 1,516 helpful votes
Reviewed December 27, 2012

Tip: It opens at 8 am, before the Arch. So you could take a look before you go to the Arch - if you are a morning person :)

Pros: facts about slavery, beautiful old building, a piece of History

I highly recommend a visit. I could read some facts about this courthouse relevance during the slavery period. Namely about the Dred Scott Case. It's truly impressive.

Visited December 2012
Thank HelenaGuerra
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

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