Monday, March 2, 2009

Delaware County Courthouse in Manchester

Delaware County may have been named for the state of Delaware, former home of Senator John Middleton Clayton; or possibly named for Delaware County, New York, former home of Thomas McCraney, member of the first Legislative Assembly of the Territory of Wisconsin.

Delaware County’s first courthouse was a two-story hickory log cabin built in 1843-44 by citizens in Delhi. It was the first building in the county seat, and also served as a church, school, meeting place, and shelter.

Work began on the second courthouse in Delhi in 1850, and was not finished until 1853. A frame structure hewn from local timber, the courthouse quickly became too small to serve the needs of the growing county. A two-story brick county building was erected in 1857 to house county offices.

The county seat was moved to Manchester in the 1880 election. A two-story frame temporary courthouse was quickly constructed, with court held in the city hall.

Today’s courthouse, a Romanesque design by C. E. Bell, was built in Manchester beginning in 1894. The red pressed-brick building is trimmed with hand-hewn stone. The clock for the tower was purchased by donations from about 700 citizens. The Delaware County courthouse was added to the National Register of Historic Places in 1981.

Visit the Delaware County web site for more information.

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