Statement of Significance (as of designation - November 28, 1972):
The Neoclassical granite courthouse, completed in 1827 and added to at the end of the 19th century, gained fame as the scene of the Sacco-Vanzetti trial in 1921. The trial was symbolic of the controversy aroused by rising American nativism and xenophobia in the post World-War I era. The guilt of the two men, both aliens and admitted anarchists, was presumed from the outset. Although evidence of their crimes, a robbery and a murder, was largely circumstantial, they were convicted and sentenced to death. After six years of legal maneuvering, and despite massive public protests, they were electrocuted in 1927.