Supriya Ghosh

Temple of Justice (Washington)

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Country  United States
Opened  1920
Architectural style  Neoclassical architecture
Completed  1920
Town or city  Olympia
Construction started  1912

Architects  Walter R. Wilder, Harry K. White
Similar  Washington State Capitol, Capitol Lake, Washington Governor's Mansion, Lewis & Clark Interpretiv, Heritage Park

The Temple of Justice is a government building in Olympia, Washington, where sessions of the Washington Supreme Court are convened. It also houses the state's official law library, and formerly housed the office of the Attorney-General of Washington.


Map of Temple of Justice, 415 12th Ave SW, Olympia, WA 98501, USA


The Temple of Justice, along with other government buildings on the Washington State Capitol campus, was designed by the New York architectural team of Walter Wilder and Harry White. Ground was broken in the spring of 1912 by Washington Supreme Court chief justice R. O. Dunbar and the facility completed by 1920. Even during the period of construction, however, the Temple of Justice was used by the state. In January 1913, the inaugural ball of Governor Ernest Lister was held at the Temple of Justice, and the Supreme Court began meeting regularly in the unfinished building the same year.

In his book Washington's Audacious State Capitol and Its Builders, architectural historian Norman Johnston (whose father, Jay Johnston, was the resident supervisor during the construction) offered a detailed description of the plans for the Temple of Justice:

From 1987 to 1989 the Temple of Justice was closed to allow for seismic retrofitting. Minor cosmetic damage resulting from the 2001 Nisqually earthquake resulted in another closure for repairs.

Like the capitol building, the Temple of Justice is constructed from Wilkeson stone, a durable sandstone mined from quarries in Wilkeson, Pierce County, Washington, and was completed at a cost of $942,230.


At the time of the construction of the Temple of Justice, the Supreme Court heard all appeals from the superior courts and so the building contained two court rooms, what is today simply called the courtroom, as well as a secondary "minor" courtroom that was used by appellate panels of the Supreme Court. After the establishment of the Court of Appeals in 1969, the secondary courtroom was converted into a reception chamber for the chief justice.

Law library

The Temple of Justice originally housed the Washington State Library. Its neglected condition was described by the Tacoma News Tribune in 1955:

By 1959 the situation had been remedied with the construction of a new state library at what would later be named the Joel M. Pritchard Building. The site of the former state library in the Temple of Justice was refurbished and converted to a dedicated law library.


Temple of Justice (Washington) Wikipedia

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