Statement of Significance (as of designation - May 11, 1976):
When architect Henry Hobson Richardson realized his days were numbered, he wrote, "Let me have time to finish Pittsburgh and I should be content without another day." He was referring to the massive buildings he had designed for Allegheny County in1883, which were then being built. The jail -- most rugged and solid of Richardson's designs -- was completed in 1886, and the adjoining courhouse -- more specifically Romanesque in its stylistic allegiance -- was completed in 1888, a year after Richardson's death. This stone group is rightly considered among the truly great examples of his individual architectural style, the Richardsonian Romanesque.