What’s in a Name? White Plains’ Bar Building

The Bar Building of White  Plains located at 199 Main Street dates from 1926. Back then it was the tallest building constructed between Manhattan and Albany but today it is overshadowed by Westchester’s tallest buildings in the Ritz Carlton Complex.

The name for the building comes from its location and for the occupation of most of its tenants, lawyers. The building was built across from the former Westchester County Court House that was demolished in 1978. The Galleria Mall was built in its place. Avoiding demolition itself, the building was saved from the Ritz Carlton construction project and was added to the National Register of Historic Places in 2007.


The use of word “bar “in reference to the law or legal profession has a number of meanings. Barring furniture in medieval Europe was used to divide a court room between the areas where the trial participants were located and where the public was allowed to watch the trial. Today, court rooms continue to use a physical barrier (i.e. railing) to separate the two areas. The term “bar” also refers to the steps and procedures one must take to become a licensed lawyer, to the whole legal profession and to the governing body that regulates and reviews the conduct of lawyers.

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