The Courtroom appears much as it did when the building opened in 1933. Originally designed for public meetings and hearings, today it is the public setting for the reasoned debate of the most significant legal disputes arising from Ohio law.
Appointed with walnut and marble, and bold and muted murals, the room conveys purpose and a sense of history. It reflects artistic styles from many and varied periods, including the Renaissance, Rococo and Art Deco.
German artist Rudolf Scheffler, who created murals and mosaics in churches, schools and office buildings across the country, painted the ceiling murals and those topping the walls in the Courtroom. Scheffler was awarded the contract for the state office building in late 1932 and completed the work in 1933.
At the south end of the room, opposite the bench, is a panorama of the settlement of Marietta in 1788. Along the wall are 14 paintings, or friezes, depicting significant events in Ohio history.
The ornate ceiling is divided into five sections, each representing one of the states — Indiana, Illinois, Ohio, Michigan and Wisconsin — carved from the Northwest Territory.
In keeping with the room's historic theme, the bench is faced with carvings representing significant developments or elements of Ohio law.
The translation for the Latin phrase beneath the clock is "While I speak, time flies." The bench-type seats at the south end are designed to accommodate the thousands of school children who observe court proceedings every year. The remaining public seats are refurbished originals.
Three robotic cameras provide coverage of Court proceedings via Internet streaming and cable television.
Visitors frequently wonder what is behind the scarlet curtain behind the bench. It is a blank wall. During the 1930s and 1940s, the space held a movie screen. In the mid-1990s, the Ohio House of Representatives met in the room during the renovation of its chambers at the Statehouse. During that time, an electronic board that recorded votes replaced the screen and the speaker’s dais stood under the board.