History Record View

Title: Renovation Sparks Interest
File Attachment:
Attachment Type: image

Warren County residents have watched with interest the repairs on a longstanding landmark. Officials say repairs are nearly complete.

The present Court House is the fourth in the county's history. It was constructed in 1907 after fire destroyed the old building (the third Court house on January 20, 1907.) A contract was awarded to Jahr & Cope of Urbana, IL., for construction of the building and a new jail. Cost was about one hundred and five thousand dollars. Two brass Civil War cannons were purchased from the U.S. Government for three hundred dollars and placed on the court house grounds.

Information concerning the courthouses is sparce, but interesting to those who enjoy reading and hearing about the history of our county. The first court house, or at least the first house where court was held in Warren County, was owned by Enoch Farmer. In fact it was a hewed-log house wehre Mr. Farmer lived. County Court and general county business were transacted in that location at Warrenton. Mr. Farmer was elected treasurer ni 1827.

Many in the county, however were unhappy with the idea of the county seat being located so far from the center of the county. The couney seat was moved to Williamsport after William Henry Harrison, proprietor of Williamsport, offered to donate a tract of 80 acres in the town. Cuort was first held in Williamsport in the log house of William Harrison in July of 1829. A permanent court house was built in 1834 (the county's first permanent court building) at a cost of two thousand dollars.

This building was used until 1872, when a new court house was erected, on the hill overlooking the river. The new building cost about fifty thousand dollars. This building was later torn down and moved to the site of the present court house where it was erected.

The building that stood until the early morning hours of Sunday January 20, 1907 when the building caught fire and was almost totally destroyed.

The Warren Republican (Williamsport newspaper) described the event in it's edition of Thursday January 24, 1907. In that paper, it is reported that the fire was first noticed around 4:15 A.M. when Dr. Porter who was asleep in the building across the street was awakened by the light of the fire. He sounded the alarm to central who tried to sound the alarm on the water plant whistle, but water from the steam exhaust had frozen in the whistle, making it impossible to sound the alarm. The general alarm was then given throught the phones. The fire department arrived fifteen minutes later, however, the winds from the west had fanned the flames causing them to spread rapidly through the entire structure.

No one seemed to know how long the fire had been burning. It apparently started in the basement or on the first floor, near the jail. The building was destroyed except for a few walls which were used in the construction of the present Warren County Court House. The current court house was completed nearly a year after the fire.

Historical information in this article was obtained through the Warren County Historical Society and Washington Twp. Library
[picture; date is approximate within 2 years]

Date: 11/26/1987
Origin: Unknown
Record ID: 00002591
Type: Periodical
Source Archive: Warren County Historical Society
Date Entered: 8/10/2001
Collection: Court House
Entered By: Amber M Knipe

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