The Wayne County Courthouse

Court Street The first county courthouse was in Bethany, the county seat from 1800 to 1841. During the legislative sessions of 1840-41, Senator Ebenezer Kingsbury quietly secured the passage of an act for removal. Honesdale became the county seat and on May 4, 1841 the county commissioners accepted a plot of land opposite the public square for the county buildings. The land was a joint gift of the Jason Torrey estate and the Delaware and Hudson Canal Company. In 1843 a wooden courthouse was erected by Charles Jamison and the first courts were held there in September of that year. Within a few years a brick building known as “the fireproof’ for the county offices was erected next to the courthouse. After many years of discussion of the need for a new building, the commissioners adopted a resolution to begin construction in 1876. J.A. Wood of New York was selected as architect and the massive stone walls of the foundation were begun. During the next two years, little progress was made on the structure as the local powers were entangled in what was known as “The Courthouse Wars.” Taxpayer anger, as well as legal, financial and political disputes erupted. In 1879 the commissioners resolved to complete the building and hired A.S. Phillips of Berwick to finish the courthouse. By 1880, at a cost of $130,000, the new courthouse was a reality. What seemed an extravagance in the 1870s resulted in a courthouse that is the source of immense pride to county residents today. ARCHITECTURAL STYLE: SECOND EMPIRE Historic Preservation Award given in 1993 to County of Wayne for their exterior reservation of this property.

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