Become A Member

Friends of the Old Courthouse is a non-profit organization (501c3) dedicated to raising awareness of the historical significance of the Old McHenry County Courthouse and Sheriff’s House on the Woodstock Square and to raising funds that will further the restoration of the buildings. Become a member with exciting benefits!

Register or Sponsor Photo Book

A Week in the Life Of McHenry County, IL 2017 Photo Book Fundraiser
Photographers (all levels) can register through May 6, 2017 to be a part of a high quality photo book showcasing the beauty, diversity, history and fun found in and around McHenry County. Registration is $25 and registrants are guaranteed that at least one (of max. 10) photo will be in the book! Sponsors are also needed for this fundraiser to be a great success. It’s not just Woodstock’s jewel—it’s the County’s historic treasure!

Sponsor a Window

Help preserve an anchor of the Woodstock Square and an important building in McHenry County’s history by donating to our first capital campaign – Windows to Our History! We are focusing on the 80+ windows of the Old Courthouse as our first priority. This will enable us to halt further water damage from broken, leaking windows and stabilize the building.


Gingerbread House Walk 2016

FOTOC’s new annual event, the Gingerbread House Walk, is the latest addition to the Lighting of the Square festivities on the Woodstock Square. The Gingerbread House Walk opens Friday evening after Thanksgiving and runs through mid December. Admission is free for this family friendly event so make sure you visit the Old Courthouse during the holiday season. Click “View More” to see all of our 23 entries submitted in 2016.

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Dick Tracy Day 2016

FOTOC’s inaugural fundraiser was Dick Tracy Day 2016. We thought it appropriate as the Chester Gould Museum, honoring the Dick Tracy creator, was housed in the Old Courthouse for many years. Chester Gould called Woodstock home for 50+ years and Dick Tracy Days were once an annual five day celebration that included window and sidewalk decorating contests as well as an impressive parade. While we couldn’t bring back the parade, we did find a spectacular event for Dick Tracy Day 2016 – Breaking a Guinness World Record for Longest Cartoon Strip by a Team! We have over 1000 team members and have 3/4 of the 4,000 foot strip completed. To see pictures of the strip and some of the fun activities held on Dick Tracy Day 2016, click “View More”.

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The old McHenry County Courthouse was constructed in 1857 by prominent architect, John Mills Van Osdel. The adjoining Sheriff’s House was constructed thirty years later in 1887 and housed the County Sheriff and his family while inmates occupied jail cells in the back. Early on, it was customary for the sheriff’s wife to prepare meals for the inmates.

The deteriorating complex was vacated in 1972 (after more than 100 years) and moved to a new Courthouse on Route 47 in Woodstock. The Old Courthouse and the Sheriff’s House are listed on the National Register of Historic Places.