The Allegan Area Chamber of Commerce is pleased to present Allegan County’s Original Courthouse as its 2017 Allegan Historic Sites Holiday Ornament, the 23rd in the series.
The designation of the structure as Allegan County’s first Courthouse is somewhat of a misnomer. The structure was built as the Village of Allegan’s first schoolhouse; however, during Allegan’s “pioneer” days, a building of such permanence would undoubtedly serve multiple purposes. As such, Allegan County paid a sum of $32.00 in rent to use the space for its courtroom from 1837 – 38. Worship services were also held in the building. The ornament image shows the building at its current location at 237 Hubbard St., circa 1895, after it had been turned into a multiple family residence. No picture could be located showing the building with its single entryway and the cupola that served as the bell tower that called the children to their lessons and the congregants to worship.
The Courthouse’s current location is at least the structure’s third address. The historical record is clear that the building was built on the southeast corner of Trowbridge and Pine Streets. There are also references to it being located on the northeast corner of Hubbard and Pine Streets, suggesting that it moved 200 feet south at some point. Current owner, Attorney Emily Green, offers anecdotally that the building may have been situated on Water Street briefly prior to relocating to its current Hubbard Street location.
Preparations are being finalized to move the Original Courthouse once again; this time, roughly 150 feet to the East in order to make way for the much anticipated expansion, renovation, and improvement of the Allegan District Library. The project will add about 7,400 square feet of space and feature, in part, barrier free access, more space for children’s activities and programming, a teen room, updated technology including a digital media lab, a reading deck overlooking the Kalamazoo River, multiple sizes of meeting and collaboration spaces, an improved business resource center, and a restoration of the Carnegie Meeting Room.
Ornaments are $15.00 and are available at the Allegan Area Chamber of Commerce and Allegan Community Pharmacy.