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December 4, 2017 / Love Letters

Love Letters: Clarence M. Mitchell, Jr. Courthouse and Courthouse East

Image courtesy Maryland State Archives

Oh Baltimore, oh Baltimore, order in the court! If you have ever had the pleasure of working in the legal field, or even served your civic duty as a Baltimore City juror, you have engaged with the Clarence Mitchell, Jr. Courthouse located at 110 N. Calvert Street—the epitome of an architecturally sound historic building.

Constructed in 1896 and completed in 1900, this Beaux Arts courthouse screams unique and is a historic building that is significant to the history of Baltimore. This building has architectural pillars, bursting with marble floors adorned throughout, grand stairways, ionic columns, high ceilings and elevators, in which you can envision an elevator operator. Walking through the long hallways, the smell of “history” fills your nose and awakens your senses so that it encompasses the fine details of architecture. My observation of this courthouse throughout the years has offered me the ability to examine details, like the stretched windows with various shapes, the wooden doors of the bathroom stalls in the ladies’ room on the 2nd floor, and the floor-to-ceiling entry doors of the main entrance. Have you ever looked at the doors while they were closed, while being the first person to arrive at the courthouse? It’s like waiting for a castle door to open to see the Wizard! In 1985, the courthouse was rededicated in honor of Clarence M. Mitchell, Jr. a celebrated national civil rights leader of the NAACP and an admired lawyer and judge during the twentieth century.

I’d be remiss to not mention that directly across the street is Courthouse East combined with the post office and between the buildings is Battle Monument Square. Both courthouses are one entity, housing judges of the 8th Judicial Circuit Court for the State of Maryland and many other agencies serving Baltimore City.

My crush for these buildings developed in 1999, two years after moving to Baltimore from the Bronx when I first entered the legal system and held a position as a secretary for Pretrial Release Division of the Maryland Division of Corrections. Afterwards, I worked for the State’s Attorney for Baltimore City and three well known Baltimore City judges. The soles of my feet have clicked and clacked on the white-marble floors of this old establishment for almost twenty years. I have built professional and long-lasting relationships with Baltimoreans in the Clarence Mitchell, Jr Courthouse, and Courthouse East.  My love for these buildings are an extraordinary part of my Baltimore employment experience and history that will forever remain in my heart!

Fondly,

Claudia Holden

Submit your own Love Letter today! Visit http://baltimorearchitecture.org/love-letters-to-baltimore-buildings/ for more details.