Thursday, September 22, 2011

Pownalborough Courthouse, 25 Court House Road, Dresden

On Saturday September 10th, I attended the 250th birthday celebration of the Pownalborough Court House on 25 Court House Rd. in Dresden.  This is a well-preserved federal style building with a courtroom on the 2nd floor.  The construction of the building was completed in 1761 and began functioning as a courthouse in the same year.  One of its claims to fame is that John Adams argued one of his early cases there in 1765. Interestingly enough, the future president was so masterful in his legal argument that the interest of the opposing party (Great Proprietors from Boston) later hired Adams to do legal work for them.

On the first floor are a couple of rooms decorated in 18th century style and a room to the rear with an interesting miniaturized and well detailed display of an ice harvesting operation.  In one of the first floor rooms there is a portrait of Thomas Pownall, member of Parliament and man person after whom Pownalborough  was named.  The second floor contains an 18th century bedroom complete with mannequins adorned in 18th century clothing.  A parlor across the hall contains more period furnishings, a fireplace and a sizable collection of period law books.  The largest room ins the building is the 2nd floor courtroom.  It has been furnished and appointed to look like an authentic 18th century courtroom.  One of the interesting documents displayed is a listing of various crimes and what punishments would have been meted out at the time.   The cost is $4.00 for a 1 hour tour of the courthouse and the property (I am told that tours can extend beyond the suggested duration).  Our guide was very knowledgeable, welcoming and eager to field all questions. As the photo at the top suggests, the Court House is well signed from the road and there was an additional sign about a mile away which made it easier to find.

 David W. posing in front of a French and Indian War era encampment next to the Court House.
David W. at the front entrance of the Pownalborough Court House