The Old McHenry County Courthouse, the majestic anchor of the bustling Historic Woodstock Square, was erected in 1857, designed by John Mills Van Osdel, chief architect of Chicago’s Palmer House. The building was joined by the accompanying Sheriff’s House & Jail in 1887, and issued landmark status by the National Register of Historic Places in 1974. After a new government center was built in 1972, local residents purchased the historic buildings and established an art gallery, studios, restaurant and museum space, including the former Chester Gould/Dick Tracy Museum. By 2011 it was clear the buildings’ growing repair and restoration needs were cost-prohibitive for continued private owner-ship, and the buildings were transferred to City of Woodstock. A professional assessment of the buildings’ condition was conducted and an outline of essential repairs, and estimated costs, was provided.
The City has invested over $1 million in a new roof, dome, stairs and structural repairs, to stabilize the buildings. Estimates on remaining work, required to ensure building safety and effect build-out for future tenants, range from $5-7 million. Please consider a donation to our “Windows to Our History” campaign. Window replacement is a key component of the restoration process as it will stabilize the building, preventing further deterioration from weather damage. Donations will be recognized with a plaque and prominently displayed in the Old Courthouse. Please support FOTOC’s efforts to establish a sustainable public usage of this grand historic structure.