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Missouri State Parks

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USA Parks
Northeast Region
Gateway Arch National Park
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Gateway Arch National Park Old Courthouse credits NPS photo/Jennifer Clark
The Old Courthouse
Gateway Arch National Park West Entrance to the Gateway Arch Visitor Center credits NPS Photo/Sue Ford
Welcome to the Gateway Arch
Gateway Arch National Park Jefferson National Expansion Memorial credits Share the Experience, David Brown
Jefferson National Expansion Memorial
Gateway Arch National Park Cherry trees in bloom credits NPS photo/Jennifer Clark
The blooming cherry trees in Kiener Plaza provide a wonderful foreground for the Gateway Arch and Old Courthouse in spring.
Gateway Arch National Park The Old Courthouse credits NPS photo/Jennifer Clark
The Old Courthouse
Gateway Arch National Park The Gateway Arch reflected credits NPS photo/Jennifer Clark
A walk around the Gateway Arch grounds provide many chances to view the Arch from many different angles.
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11 North 4th Street
St. Louis, Missouri   63102
(lat:38.627 lon:-90.1855) map location

Phone: 314-655-1600
Email: park email button icon
The majestic Old Courthouse has remained over the past 150 years as one of St. Louis' most prominent architectural landmarks. Plan your visit to see all the permanent exhibits and special events! The Old Courthouse was the site of the first two trials of the pivotal Dred Scott case in 1847 and 1850. It was also where Virginia Minor's case for a woman's right to vote came to trial in the 1870s. You may tour this historic structure, and visit the restored courtrooms to learn more about our 19th century judicial system.

St. Louis' Old Courthouse is listed in the National Park Service's National Underground Railroad Network To Freedom. The Network to Freedom recognizes sites, programs and facilities with verifiable associations to the Underground Railroad. The phenomenon popularly known as the Underground Railroad has been broadly defined by the National Park Service as the "historic resistance to enslavement through escape and flight." The Old Courthouse is linked with the story of the Underground Railroad, and with that of slavery, as a property associated with legal challenges to slavery. It was a public forum as well as a courthouse. Slaves were auctioned from its steps in estate settlements, while one man's suit for freedom helped plunge the country into Civil War. The Old Courthouse was the site of hundreds of suits for freedom, but one gained notoriety. In 1847, Dred Scott, with his wife Harriet, sued for, and were granted, their freedom. After many appeals, the case was decided upon by the Supreme Court. The decision stated that slaves were property, and as such, had no right to sue. The Dred Scott Decision hastened the start of the Civil War.

Explore the links in the upper left column to learn about the Old Courthouse's many other exhibits and activities.

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Missouri State Parks