Washington County Courthouse will be featured on cable TV show

Washington County Courthouse to be on TV show

March 13, 2014
The interior of Washington County Courthouse

The Washington County Courthouse will be one of five featured this year as part of the Pennsylvania Cable Network television channel’s “Historic Courthouses” series this year.

Filming will be done during one day between late April and late May. The show’s air date has not been determined.

Chief Clerk Mary Helicke submitted a three-page application in January explaining why Washington County’s fourth courthouse should receive statewide exposure.

In the overview of local history, she noted the current courthouse, construction of which began in 1898, was designed by Frederick J. Osterling at a cost of $1 million. It was dedicated Nov. 17, 1900, with speeches and tours given under the stained-glass dome. At the time, sculptures of Justice and Liberty stood on the corners of the roof facing Main Street. The distance from the basement to the top of the dome measures 150 feet.

The chief clerk notified Gary Bertosh, director of buildings and grounds, that Washington County had made the cut so he “will make sure the courthouse is in its finest condition to make us proud.”

The building can’t look spiffy without constant maintenance, and the most recent round of courthouse renovations, completed in spring 2013, cost $809,000.

For those who don’t have access to cable TV or a satellite dish, PCN also places shows online.

“PCN has had great success with the last two series so in addition to this year’s schedule of airings, there will be an additional three weeks of programing where (the channel runs) the series with all 16 courthouses that we will have filmed by year’s end,” wrote Debra S. Tingley, director of communications for the Harrisburg-based County Commissioners Association of Pennsylvania, to the county commissioners in an email.

Chosen along with Washington to air in 2014 were Centre, Franklin, Wyoming and Berks county courthouses. Slated for

2015 were courthouses in Westmoreland, Cambria and Cumberland counties.

Barbara S. Miller covers politics, Washington County government and a variety of other topics for the Observer-Reporter. She is a graduate of Washington & Jefferson College, majoring in English and history. Follow her on Twitter @reporterbarb.

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