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!

Purchase Photo Book

Nearly 70 local photographers county-wide participated in this special fundraising project, snapping pictures between May 6-14, 2017, depicting life as they saw it in McHenry County. The final book is 14” wide x 11” high with a fabulous hard cover—a real keepsake!

Order yours now for only $36. You can have it shipped ($5.00/book shipping fee) or purchase at Read Between the Lynes bookstore, 111 E. Van Buren on the Woodstock Square. Quantities are limited!

Would you like your name permanently featured next to a window in the Old Courthouse? Sponsor a window by clicking “Give” at the top of the page and see your name on a plaque. We can also dedicate or memorialize the plaques to celebrate someone special in your life. It’s a great gift and a great way to help restore the Old Courthouse and Sheriff’s House!


2016 and 2017 Gingerbread House Walks

FOTOC’s 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 entries submitted in 2016 and 2017.

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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.