Livingston County Courthouse (Illinois)

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For other uses, see Livingston County Courthouse.
Livingston County Courthouse
Pontiac IL Livingston County Courthouse5.JPG
Location Pontiac, Illinois, USA
Built 1874-1875
Architect J.C. Cochrane
Architectural style Second Empire
Governing body Livingston County
NRHP Reference # 86003165
Added to NRHP November 19, 1986

The Livingston County Courthouse is an historic building and the primary judicial center for Livingston County, Illinois. It is located in the county seat of Pontiac.


The current Livingston County Courthouse is the third building to carry that name. Construction on the present-day courthouse began in late 1874 and was completed late the next year. The courthouse was built after fire consumed the second Livingston County Courthouse on July 4, 1874. The plan for the courthouse was selected from a slate of ten candidate plans.[1] The County Board of Supervisors noted at the time that the selected plan "cost more money (but) it was the only one which for size, fire-proof qualities, and solidity would answer the purpose, and was indeed, in the matter of taste and elegance, much in advance of any other."[1] However, the author of the 1915 The County Archives of the State of Illinois called the building "hardly fireproof".[2] The courthouse clock tower was installed in 1892.[1]


The clock tower was added in 1892

John C. Cochrane, a Chicago architect [1] designed the Livingston County Courthouse in Second Empire style.[1] The building is symmetrical and rectangular, standing two stories tall. Each of its four corners features a tower and there is also a central clock tower topping the building. Some architectural elements found on the structure include: quoins, cornices, a mansard roof, modillions, belt courses and patterned roof tiles. From the basement to the eaves the building stands 55 feet tall and the clock tower sits at 70 feet above the basement.

Historic significance[edit]

The Livingston County Courthouse was added to the National Register of Historic Places on November 19, 1986.[3] It was added because it met criteria for inclusion in the areas of politics and government as well as architecture.[1] The building has been the seat of judicial activity in Livingston County, Illinois since 1875 and it is a locally excellent example of Second Empire style.[1]


  1. ^ a b c d e f g Morris, Jo Ann. "Livingston County Courthouse", National Register of Historic Places Inventory-Nomination Form, HAARGIS Database, Illinois Historic Preservation Agency, July 21, 1986, accessed July 9, 2009.
  2. ^ Pease, Theodore Calvin. The County Archives of the State of Illinois, (Google Books link), Collections of the Illinois State Historical Library, Vol. XII, 1915, p. 383.
  3. ^ "Livingston County Courthouse", Property Information Report, HAARGIS Database, Illinois Historic Preservation Agency, accessed July 9, 2009.

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