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History of the Courthouse

Old Northampton County CourthouseOn February 17, 1764, the Assembly initiated an act authorizing trustees to commence construction of the first Northampton County Courthouse which was opened in 1766. Mr. George Taylor, one of the signers of the Declaration of Independence, was among the trustees appointed to have charge of Courthouse construction. The complete two story limestone structure was fashioned after the plan of Carpenters Hall in Philadelphia and was erected in the center of Public Square in Easton. Two years later, a bell cast by the Moravians was placed on the cupola of the new courthouse, enabling notification of major events in the shire town of Easton.

Nearly a century later and after the courthouse had experienced a number of historical events, which included being used as a barracks by Revolutionary troops, a group of citizens petitioned for a new County Courthouse at a different location. On August 23, 1860, the County Commissioners decided to accept land offered at a price of $1.00 that was located several blocks west of the original facility. A new brick structure was later built on a steep hill at a cost of $53,000. The first term of court was held in the new facility on June 18, 1861.

Since then, two additional wings were constructed to accommodate the growth of Northampton County and satisfy the judicial needs of the expanded population.

In 1978, the county moved some of its offices to the newly constructed administration building which annexed the existing courthouse. Later, the Clerk of Criminal Courts and the Clerk of Civil Courts transferred their expanded offices to the new facility, improving the efficiency of the entire judicial and governmental process.

In 2004 the Court moved forward with construction of a sizable addition that was annexed to the 1978 facility. Acknowledging the population growth of Northampton County and the various safety and security issues that were inherent in the 1861 facility, County Council allocated $43,000,000 to construct 7 new courtrooms, judicial offices, and renovate may areas of the historical courthouse. Today the facility is able to meet the expanding needs of the county and provides an environment that is effective, secure, and safe for all.

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