Octagon House Museum • Hudson Wisconsin

The St. Croix Court House

The first meeting of the county board of the present St. Croix County was on September 9, 1848 and as there was no courthouse, the session was held at the residence of Philip Aldrich which stood on the land at the northeast corner of Second and Elm Streets. This house was the scene of many brilliant social gatherings and important business meetings were often held there.

At a special County Board meeting called at the Aldrich house on May 25th, 1850, in addition to electing a district attorney, it was determined that there was no suitable place for holding court and a committee was appointed to make arrangements for a building for such purposes and for the confinement of county prisoners. St. Croix County’s first courthouse was a wooden structure built at the northeast corner of Third and Orange Streets. In 1852 Daniel Mears was appointed to build a county jail at a cost of $350.

St. Croix County Court House (1857 - 1899)

St. Croix County Court House (1857 – 1899)

The second Court House (1857-1899) was built at the northeast corner of Third and Orange Streets and replaced the previous wooden structure. In 1857 by Ammah Andrews and his brother-in-law, John Comstock were retained as contractors. When built in this pioneer community, it was an imposing classic stone structure with broad steps and imposing Ionic columns. From its steps citizens heard stirring patriotic addresses as well as temperance and political speeches. During the Civil War, young men of Hudson heard urgent admonitions to enlist their services in defense of country. The Court House served as the “Floral Hall” in early county fairs. Scores of people would crowd onto the steps to watch the horse races on Third Street. The second Court House was one of the few civic buildings left untouched by the ravages of the great fire of 1866. The Court House was torn down in 1899 to make room for a new structure.

By the end of the 1800s the old Court House had become inadequate and in 1899 a new Court House was proposed. With the consideration of a new Court House came rumblings of discontent from the central and eastern parts of the county and a fight began to keep Hudson as the county seat. A legal battle ensued which was taken all the way to the Wisconsin Supreme Court. The prevailing arguments for keeping the Court House in Hudson were the fact that three lines of the Omaha railroad converged in Hudson. Another consideration was that the state legislature had early designated Hudson as the county seat in 1848.

St. Croix County Court House (1900-1993)

St. Croix County Court House (1900-1993)

Construction began on the then new Court House in March of 1900. The building is an impressive edifice with heavy, rough-hewn stone and massive arches. The old Court House still stands at the northeast corner of Third and Orange Streets at 914 Third Street and is a private residence.

St. Croix County Government offices outgrew the capacity of the 1900 building and expanded into a Court House at 911 Fourth Street. This building was used as the main County Court House from 1965 until 1993 with the old 1900 Court House used to house additional county offices.

In 1993 county offices were move to their current location, the St. Croix County Government Center at 1101 Carmichael Road.

Post a comment