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Order in the court

It was hard for this woodworker to remain focused during jury duty when surrounded by some of the most marvelous woodworking I’d ever seen.

I did jury duty last week, and while eager to fulfill my civic responsibility properly, I kept getting distracted. The courthouse, completed in 1909, as you might expect had some excellent woodworking. I admit that at times during the trial I should have been paying more attention to the proceedings, but my eyes kept wandering the gorgeous surroundings.

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The courtroom itself was enormous, with four massive floor-to-ceiling pillars of walnut that matched the extensive wainscoting throughout the room. These pillars were at least 20' feet tall, and simply beautiful. The judge’s bench, also walnut, dominated the room between the pillars, while waist-high walnut dividers separated the jury and witness boxes. Benches in the gallery? Walnut, of course.

Throughout the marble interior of the courthouse’s rotunda must have been hundreds of chairs arranged outside every room on every floor (and, as I found out, inside several of the rooms as well). The chairs, seen above, were of two designs – a walnut armchair with a latticework back, and quartersawn white oak with leather backrest.

Doors, wainscoting, trim and millwork in walnut and quartersawn oak were everywhere, complemented by tons of marble on every horizontal and vertical surface. Simply beautiful.

The trial ended early when the judge declared a mistrial, which was probably just as well considering my difficulty in paying attention. In fact, I’m having a rough time remembering much about the trial itself. But, there’s no question that I remember every detail of that incredible woodworking.

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