News from the Washington Courts Historical Society

The Washington Courts Historical Society (WCHS) was founded by Justice Gerry Alexander and Justice Philip Talmadge, to promote a greater public understanding of the significance of the courts in Washington State history. We have been actively working on several projects over the past couple of years as part of meeting our mission to preserve and advance the understanding of Washington court history.

One of these projects is to commission the mural to complete the Temple of Justice. When the Temple of Justice was designed starting in 1911, the architects envisioned the Supreme Court chamber full of art. Unfortunately, the project ran over budget while being built, and then the Great Depression hit, putting art for the Temple of Justice on the low priority list.

Through the vision of Justice Alexander to complete the Temple, WCHS commissioned an well-respected muralist, Daniel Galvez to portray significant pieces of Washington legal history and geographical features of our beautiful state into a mural that would be placed on the back wall of the chamber. Still in concept phase, the picture below is a rendering of the design for the mural.

Another project in the works is capturing oral histories of key figures of Washington State’s legal community. Oral history is especially important to augment and provide perspective and commentary to historical facts and figures. It gives historians and researchers an opportunity to fill in gaps of documented history. With the support of the MOHAI (Museum of History and Industry), volunteers are seeking to record histories to capture moments of time and key remembrances of important rulings, cases, and controversies, as well as personal details that give our legal history depth and meaning.

If you wish to become more involved with either of these projects, either through gifts of time or money, please let the Executive Director know by emailing her at or calling her at 206-650-8229.