2 Chambers Street, [Thomas Little and] John Kellum [(1858)]/Leopold Eidlitz (18-78)
Located on a site previously occupied by the public common, a poorhouse
and various cultural institutions, this courthouse was the brainchild of
municipal powermonger and crook, William Marcy Tweed--the "Boss Tweed" of
New York City's Democratic 'machine.' Tweed's manipulation of public
opinion and embezzlement of funds in connection with the construction of
building ultimately led to his imprisonment and to Tammany Hall's loss
of political clout.
Little and Kellum's Anglo-Italianate north wing is inspired by the Renaissance palazzo, as interpreted by the English for gentlemen's clubs. This brick structure with granite cladding has two wings flanking a central portion that is accentuated by a Corinthian portico originally accessed from Chambers Street via a monumental flight of stairs. Enhanced by an impressive skylit rotunda, the southern wing of the courthouse was completed in a distinctive Romanesque-inspired style by the German architect and theoretician Leopold Eidlitz.