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Pittsburgh City-County Building

City-County Building
Pittsburgh City-County Building (right), adjacent to the Allegheny County Courthouse (left)
Alternative names City Hall
General information
Type Neo-Classical, Beau-Arts
Architectural style Classical Revival
Location Pittsburgh, USA
Address 414 Grant Street
Coordinates 40.4381, -79.9969
Construction started July 5, 1915
Completed December 1917
Cost $2.771 million
$60.1 million in 2015 dollars
Owner City of Pittsburgh, County of Allegheny
Height 144 feet
Diameter 300 feet X 183 feet
Technical details
Floor count 10
Design and construction
Architect Henry Hornbostel
Architecture firm Palmer, Hornbostel & Jones
Structural engineer McClintic-Marshall & Co.
Other designers R. Gustavino, Charles Keck
Main contractor James L. Stewart
Pittsburgh City-County Building
Governing body Local
NRHP Reference # 73001586
Significant dates
Designated CPHS December 26, 1972[1]
Designated PHLF 1968[2]

The Pittsburgh City-County Building is the seat of government for the City of Pittsburgh and houses both Pittsburgh and Allegheny County offices. It is located in Downtown Pittsburgh at 414 Grant Street, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania.


  • Design 1
  • Popular culture 2
  • Trivia 3
  • External links 4
  • References 5


Pittsburgh City-County Building Portico along Grant Street

The building was designed by Henry Hornbostel and opened in 1917. Its main hall is surrounded by gilded classical columns 47 feet high, supporting a vaulted ceiling of Gustavino terra cotta tile. Architectural sculpture on the building was created by Charles Keck.

It is one of four city/county service buildings in the neighboring blocks. The Allegheny County Courthouse sits directly across Forbes Avenue. The County Office Building sits directly across Ross Street. The old Allegheny County Jail, now the Family Division of the Allegheny County Court of Common Pleas sits diagonally at Forbes Avenue and Ross Street. Up until the 1960s, the corrections department had its offices to the northeast of the structure.[3] On the seventh floor of the building is a massive mural completed in 1940 entitled "Justice" by award winning artist Harry Scheuch.[4]

Popular culture

1922's In the Name of the Law starred Pittsburgh Pirates great and future Hall of Famer Honus Wagner as the hero, as a Pittsburgh Police Superintendent pitched baseballs off the 144-foot-high roof in the film's climax.

Mayor Magee and the City Hall were featured in 1924's Fording the Lincoln Highway.[5]

1992's Lorenzo's Oil used the building to shoot scenes depicting Johns Hopkins Hospital.[6]

Many scenes of the Bruce Willis and Sarah Jessica Parker 1993's police drama Striking Distance were filmed both inside and on the Grant Street entrance to the building. Most notable is the nighttime scene of Dennis Farina's supervisor character arguing with Willis' "Tom Hardy" over the "Polish Hill" documents.

Scenes of the 1997-98 Superman remake Superman Lives were slated to be filmed in the building's "crystal palace" grand mezzanine and serving as Daily Planet offices but production was delayed by Warner Brothers.[7]

The USA Network show Suits used the Grant Street exterior for establishing shots in 2011.[8]


  • The grand Grant Street Entrance has many statues and memorials to past leaders, including the late mayor Richard Caligiuri and political boss William Flinn.
  • The complex is bordered by wide thoroughfares named for city founders James Ross (Ross Street), John Forbes (Forbes Avenue) and James Grant (Grant Street).
  • The downtown branch of the Carnegie Library of Pittsburgh occupied space in the structure until November, 1930.[9]
  • The prominent inscription "PROTHONOTARY" over a side entrance reportedly prompted the remark "What the hell is a Prothonotary?" from Harry Truman on a 1948 visit.

External links

Media related to at Wikimedia Commons


  1. ^ "Local Historic Designations". Pittsburgh, PA: Pittsburgh History & Landmarks Foundation. Retrieved 2010-07-10. 
  2. ^ Historic Landmark Plaques 1968-2009. Pittsburgh, PA: Pittsburgh History & Landmarks Foundation. 2010. p. 2. Retrieved 2010-07-10. 
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  6. ^ [1]
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