John Adams Courthouse from Pemberton Square
Designed by Boston city architect George A. Clough (1843-1916), the courthouse was completed in 1894 at a cost of approximately $3.8 million. Clough's reliance on classical elements such as arches, columns, pediments (triangular forms), and cornices (ornamental moldings) typifies this period of American architecture. The original occupants of the building (the Supreme Judicial Court, the Social Law Library, the Suffolk County Superior Court, the Boston Municipal Court, and the Suffolk County Probate and Family Court) required more space by the first decade of the twentieth century. In 1909, two additional stories were added to the structure. The addition, also designed by Clough, took the form of a high sloped roof, known as a mansard roof. In 1939, the Supreme Judicial Court and the Social Law Library moved into the "New" Suffolk County Courthouse next door, an Art Deco tower designed by the architectural firm of Desmond & Lord. In 2005, upon completion of a massive restoration and renovation effort led by the architectural firm of Childs, Bertman, Tseckares, Inc., the Supreme Judicial Court and the Social Law Library, joined by the Appeals Court, returned to the "Old" Suffolk County Courthouse.