Built in the 1860s, this courthouse was the first on the West Coast and was Portland's first restoration project. It is still ... More
Built in the 1860s, this courthouse was the first on the West Coast and was Portland's first restoration project. It is still a federal building for the United States Court of Appeals and the U.S. Post Office. A stairway leads up to the cupola, with a great view of downtown and Pioneer Courthouse Square.
Folks are confusing this review for Pioneer Courthouse with one for Pioneer Courthouse Square. This review is for the Courthouse, forget the people watching and promos at the Square, see the Courthouse, it's awesome! Great old building, National Historic Landmark, fully restored. It's like traveling back in time to the 1870's. Wonderful furnishings, lots of exhibits and display panels. Be sure to go up to the cupola and compare the pictures on the wall of the 1870's to the 1920's with how Portland looks today. Ask the court staff to play the film about Oregon, Portland, and the Courthouse. It's like a Ken Burns style film and well worth watching. There's no charge for going through and everyone is very nice. A federal judge came out of his office and offered to give us a guided tour of the building. How cool is that?
This recently restored Federal Courthouse is open to the public for self-guided tours and I wonder if anyone in Portland realizes what a jewel this building truly is. Fabulous woodwork, plaster cornices, 1875 courtroom, etc. There's a very good film you can see that talks about the courthouse and the history of Portland. Great antique furniture and paintings. Wonderful interpretive panels discuss the major historic documents and court cases. And. . .you can go all the way up to the cupola and look out over the city and Pioneer Courthouse Square. And, it's all free. Don't miss it!!!
On a beautiful day I love to sit on a step and watch the interesting mix of people who hang out at the Courthouse or wait for the train. Sometimes there is interesting "free" activity, as well. The Courthouse sometimes features great entertainment at any time of year.
One complaint: I really miss the Powell's Travel Store that was such a part of the Courthouse since it's inception. I bought most of my travel books there.
The absolute best place in Portland to take the city's pulse. You will see every type of Portlander doing all manner of things - from reading to playing chess to more active pastimes like skateboarding and kicking around the hackey sack. You also get a front seat view of some of the best architecture downtown offers.
This trip I enjoyed display of flowers after the Rose Festival (this year missed the festival) and then the sand contests looked very interesting and looked like all participants and watchers enjoyed tremendously.
I recommend anyone visiting the Portland area to visit Pioneer Square and to go into the information area around the fountains (lower area) to obtain very useful/helpful info and maps. MAX transportation on both sides of the square is wonderful to board and get around in Fareless Square.
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