Television cameras normally aren’t permitted in the Delaware County Courthouse. But an exception was made when the historic and majestic Courthouse was the star of a Pennsylvania Cable Network (PCN) film airing in September on PCN.
The fascinating and rich history of the Courthouse, built in 1848, is brought to life in this documentary, introduced by Delaware County Council Chairman Tom McGarrigle and narrated by Vice Chairman Mario J. Civera Jr. The film will air on several dates in September, which is History Month in Delaware County.
Today’s county residents know the Courthouse as a landmark in Media and its steps are a gathering place for parades, rallies and special events. But, as people will learn from the PCN documentary, the original Courthouse had a jail and gallows out back.
The first case tried at the Media Courthouse was that of John R. Bergen who was indicted for keeping a “tippling house” and Mr. Bergen was fined $30 for selling liquor against the law.
One of the early judges, William Broomall, was known for chewing tobacco on the bench where he kept a brass spittoon.
The 30-minute video takes people through two centuries of Delaware County history, and explains how Delaware County was carved out of Chester County in 1789. This region became the 32nd Judicial District with cases originally heard at the Chester Courthouse.
The documentary is part of the 2013 Courthouse Series produced by PCN for the County Commissioners’ Association of Pennsylvania.
The Delaware County Courthouse will be featured on PCN at 7 p.m. Thursday, Sept. 12, and 2 p.m. Saturday, September 14. In Delaware County, PCN airs on various cable networks: on Comcast it can be seen on channel 10 (depending on the municipality’s programming) or digital channel 186; on Verizon, its airs on channel 9, and on RCN it sometimes airs on channel 55. The show also airs on the PCN website at www.PCNtv.com.
Delaware County Council will host a public screening of the film at 11 a.m. Tuesday, Sept. 24, in the County Council meeting room at the Government Center in Media.
“It really gives me great pride to show residents of Pennsylvania our Courthouse, which really tells the history of our county,” said Council Chairman Tom McGarrigle. “Many of our residents have never been inside of this magnificent building so I am happy that PCN chose our Courthouse for their 2013 Courthouse series.”
In the documentary, people will learn how there was a battle between the “Chesterites” and the “removalists” to determine the best location for a Courthouse.
When the Courthouse opened in 1848, there was one courtroom. Today there are 12 courtrooms in the Courthouse and four additional courtrooms in the Fronefield Building.
People will get to see inside Courtroom One, the ceremonial courtroom done in the “Chippendale Ionic style,” the Francis Catania Law Library where there is a display of six paintings that depict the historical development of the county, the judge’s conference room that has portraits of the county’s first judges, and the exterior of the Courthouse, which includes a towering monument to the “soldiers and sailors” who fought in the Civil War.
Members of the public are invited to attend the public screening of the film at 11 a.m. Tuesday, Sept. 24. The screening is free, but people are asked to pre-register by emailing your name to DelcoPR@co.delaware.pa.us.