While Belize’s first Court House, a wooden structure, was built in 1818, it was not until June 26, 1820 that the first sitting of the Supreme Court was held. This rather drab wooden structure, that housed the Supreme Court’s first sitting, did not change until 1880 when a beautiful wooden building was constructed.
This Court House building, which was erected by Gustav Von Ohlafen, was completely destroyed by a fire that occurred on August 17, 1918. During that fire, the Governor at the time, Hart Bennett, was fatally injured while rendering his assistance to put out the fire. The Governor was hit by a flagpole that was cut down because it had caught fire. He died a few days later.
The present Supreme Court building, constructed of reinforced concrete, was completed in 1926 at a cost of $300,000.00 and was a model of the architecture of the previous building, with slight modifications. It was built by the Jefferson Construction Company, a firm that had its base in New Orleans. The company had come to Belize to build the Paslow Building when it was commissioned to build the Supreme Court building.
It is this same construction company that built the Belize City Swing Bridge in 1923 at a cost of $84,000.00. The bridge joined the north side, which was known as the island of Fort George at the time, to south side Belize City. The Jefferson Construction Company was also responsible for the construction of the seawall that is still in existence along the Fort George area.