Jury Duty

Citizens have a responsibility to participate in the political process by registering and voting in elections. Serving on a jury is another responsibility of citizenship.

This from materials I was using to prepare Abdul for his naturalization exam. When I received the summons for jury duty, although I could have opted out because of my venerable age, I agreed to participate. It was only after I arrived and the clerk began a long instructional harangue I realized I couldn't understand/hear him. I could hear the sounds, but I only got one word out of ten. He spoke very quickly, and Pittsburghers tend to swallow syllables, and I was out of it. They gave me a pass on the basis of my hearing and that was it, although I had to spend the day there. I'm not sorry I went, but I'm also not sorry I didn't get on a case.

The proceedings were held in the Allegheny County Court House, a wonderful building. I'm always happy to go there, although the upper floors are not as wonderful as the first and ground floors. Here is one of the lamps on the staircase leading to the second floor.

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Here is a picture of the architect's drawing for the building. It was hanging in a lounge next to the jury room.

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As usual, it's a little different than the actual building.

I've always been intrigued with this part of Pittsburgh, one of the real mysteries. At one time there was a very steep hill, called Grant's Hill, that covered the ground floors of both the court house and the Frick Building across the street. Both were built knowing the hilltop would be removed. There is a small plaque on the second floor of the Frick Building indicating the top of the hill. I have trouble envisioning it. Here is a quote from the Post Gazette which throws some light on it:

But by the 1910s, what was left of a whittled-away Grant's Hill was an
inconvenience known as "the Hump," and so the last of it went, leaving
two of Pittsburgh's best buildings with their bottoms exposed — H.H.
Richardson's Courthouse and the Frick Building that upstaged it,
walling it off from its city.

One thought on “Jury Duty

  1. Absolutely fascinating stuff. I’m awestruck with the light, what must the rest of the ground floor be like. In Milwaukee WI, they recently finished restoring their city hall, both these contemporary structures leave me applauding the details. Thank you. šŸ™‚

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