Historic Buildings of Herkimer County


By Betsy Voorhees

New Court House

The "New" Court House at the Four Corners
replacing the "Old" Court House

The above picture is the Herkimer Court House built in the 1870s to replace a previous court house. Not long ago, Herkimer County moved its court offices into new, modern facilities, although the old court house is still being used. What's now referred to as the "Old Court House", which is really the new one proposed in the article below, is on the corner opposite the Herkimer County Historical Society Buildings at the famous Four Corners.

On November 23, 1871 in the Board of Supervisors minutes, James Mason, Chairman of the committee on County buildings, recommended a new Courthouse.

An editorial in the November 29, 1871 edition of the Herkimer Democrat and Gazette summed up the situation as follows:

"That the present Courthouse is insufficient and unsuitable has long been conceded by all intelligent men in this County. It is probably one of the poorest and shabbiest Courthouses to be found in the State in any County of the size and importance of ours. There is no proper room for the District Attorney or the petty jury, or for the supervisors when any Court is in session: and the Courtroom is too small and badly ventilated. The necessity of building a new Courthouse has frequently been pressed upon the attention of our Supervisors, and heretofore they have shrunk from inaugurating the measures necessary to meet the emergency mainly from fear that it would not be popular with the people of the County. But from intensive inquiry of leading, intelligent, public spirited men in various parts of the County, we are satisfied that the intelligent public sentiment of the County is now favorable to the measure. The county and nearly all of the towns are out of debt. The State tax is some $15,000.00 less than last year and if the County can't afford the expense now, when will the time come? We are glad to see that on Thursday last the Board of Supervisors unanimously adopted the following resolution: Resolved that we are in favor of building a new Courthouse upon the site of the present one, in the Town of Herkimer, on condition that said Town will raise and contribute for that purpose the sum of $10,000,00. And whenever said Town will raise the place at the disposal of the County that sum, we will raise and appropriate a sum not exceeding $30,000.00 for that purpose, provided that the Board of Supervisors at a special meeting hereby recommended to be held on Tuesday, the 30th day of January 1872, approve the same. And that a committee of five be appointed by the Chair to procure and recommend plans and specifications with estimates of expenses of the proposed new Courthouse to be submitted to the Board of Supervisors at the above mentioned special meeting."

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Created 11/22/00
Copyright © 2000 Betsy Voorhees
Picture Copyright © 2000 Betsy Voorhees
All Rights Reserved.