Pioneer Courthouse


Welcome to Pioneer Courthouse Historical Society

Pioneer Courthouse, in Portland, Oregon, has been home since 1875 to the United States Courts in the State of Oregon and is currently the Oregon home for the United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit.

Our “Blackstone in Oregon” event last fall was a success! Save the date for our Fall 2017 program on Executive Order 9066 and the Japanese-American Internment, Thursday, October 26.

Last fall we celebrated the Pioneer Courthouse Historical Society’s receipt of three original volumes of Blackstone’s Commentaries with a discussion of William Blackstone and how the thinking of this 18th Century jurist continues to influence the development of the law in the 21st Century.

Visit THIS GALLERY to see photos of our distinguished panel -- Judge Morgan Christen of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit, Justice Jack Landau of the Oregon Supreme Court, and Dean Emeritus Jim Huffman of Lewis & Clark Law School -- and the reception that followed the program.

Pioneer Courthouse Architecture

The Building

Learn about the architecture and history of the building from 1875 through to its seismic upgrade in 2003-2005.

the cupola

The cupola

See Portland past and present from the windows of the cupola. On this web page you’ll also see historic views of the city.

Documents of History

Documents of History

Documents, from the Magna Carta (1215) to the Civil Rights Act of 1964 have shaped our history.

The Galleries

The Galleries

feature an exhibit on Judge Deady’s Oregon, portraits of the Ninth Circuit judges based in Pioneer Courthouse, building restoration and more.

Ninth Circuit Timeline

Ninth Circuit Timeline

The Ninth Circuit’s history reflects the history of America’s development as a nation and its westward movement.

video link

Watch a Video…

At the Forefront of Adventure and Architecture: Pioneer Courthouse, Portland, Oregon

Visit Pioneer Courthouse, a National Historic Landmark

Pioneer Courthouse is located in the heart of downtown Portland, adjacent to the ever-lively Pioneer Courthouse Square, Portland’s “living room” and once the home of the grand and popular Portland Hotel.

The courthouse, which is a National Historic Landmark, is the single most important 19th-century government building in the Pacific Northwest to survive into the 21st century. Opened in 1875 as the seat of the federal government in the region—incorporating the post office, judiciary, customs office, and tax department—the Pioneer Courthouse welcomed presidents, witnessed significant trials and court hearings, and has stood watch as Portland has grown from a small town to a large city.

You are invited to visit the building to tour its ornate hallways and public areas, dignified courtroom on the second floor, the cupola above the fourth floor (with its astounding vista of a century of Portland architecture), and exhibits throughout that tell the story of the building, the courts, and the people who have worked here. This website offers a sampler of those exhibits.