A rich history: Nassau County Courthouse in Mineola added to National Register of Historic Places

The courthouse, located in Mineola, is known for housing some infamous trials. From the Joey Buttafuoco-Amy Fisher case, the trial of LIRR shooter Colin Ferguson or of serial killer Joel Rifkin.

News 12 Staff

Mar 26, 2021, 1:00 PM

Updated 1,214 days ago

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The verdict is in on the Nassau County Courthouse -- it has been designated as a historic landmark.
The courthouse, located in Mineola, is known for housing some infamous trials. From the Joey Buttafuoco-Amy Fisher case, the trial of LIRR shooter Colin Ferguson or of serial killer Joel Rifkin.
However, the courthouse holds an important place in history for another reason.
Dan Looney, who works in the courthouse for the Nassau district attorney, was in awe of the building's grand courtrooms, carved stone sculptures and Greek architecture. That launched Looney into a decades-long historical hunt to uncover the building's hidden past.
Looney discovered the courthouse, completed in 1940, was designed by the same architectural team that built the Lincoln Memorial in Washington, D.C.
"You have a skylight that is basically a replica of the skylight in the Lincoln Memorial, the only thing missing is Abraham Lincoln himself," says Looney.
And the stately bronze lamps that stand at the entrance to the courthouse are identical to those at the Lincoln Memorial.
Looney says the 73-acre complex was built as a civic center for the people of Nassau, and served as a focal point for cultural and community activities. It's a use Looney is working to bring back.
And now, thanks to Looney's work, the building was added to the National Register of Historic Places.
"You couldn't ask for a better structure or design for a courthouse than something that is based on the roots of our democracy and on Abraham Lincoln," says Looney.
The construction cost $2.65 million and provided jobs for about 600 workers. Another fun fact -- Bob Dylan and Henry Fonda both married one of their wives at the courthouse.


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