Skip to Main Content
It looks like you're using Internet Explorer 11 or older. This website works best with modern browsers such as the latest versions of Chrome, Firefox, Safari, and Edge. If you continue with this browser, you may see unexpected results.

Hudson County Court House: Hudson County Courthouse (1845)

Hudson County Courthouse - Images

Old Hudson County Courthouse and Jail

Courtesy, RF Smith

Hudson County Courthouse

Postcard circa 1910 showing the Greek Revival style 1845 Hudson County Courthouse in the foreground. Rising behind the old building the corners of the large white 1910 Beaux Arts style courthouse can be seen in the background.

Courtesy, Jersey City Free Public Library

Hudson County Courthouse and Jail

Early 20th century postcard of the 1845 Hudson County Courthouse buildingwhich was located on Newark Avenue slightly west of the 1910 structure. The old jail building can be seen on the right.

Courtesy, Jersey City Free Public Library

Hudson County Courthouse

Postcard circa 1910 showing the Greek Revival style 1845 Hudson County Courthouse in the foreground. Rising behind the old building the corners of the large white 1910 Beaux Arts style courthouse can be seen in the background.

Courtesy, Jersey City Free Public Library

Hudson County Courthouse and Jail

Early 20th century postcard of the 1845 Hudson County Courthouse buildingwhich was located on Newark Avenue slightly west of the 1910 structure. The old jail building can be seen on the right.

Courtesy, Jersey City Free Public Library

Hudson County Jail

Photograph showing the first Hudson County jail being taken down probably sometime during the 1930's.

Courtesy, Jersey City Free Public Library

Hudson County Courthouse and Jail circa 1873

Detail from the 1873 Atlas of Hudson County showing the location of the old Hudson County courthouse (1845) and nearby jail.

Credits: New York Society of Model Engineer's Library, Rich Taylor Collection and
Historical Maps of New Jersey site of Rutgers University

Hudson County Courthouse and Jail circa 1873

Detail from the 1873 Atlas of Hudson County showing the location of the old Hudson County courthouse (1845) and nearby jail.

Credits: New York Society of Model Engineer's Library, Rich Taylor Collection and
Historical Maps of New Jersey site of Rutgers University

Hall of Records (Administration Building), Hudson County NJ

Courtesy, RF Smith

Hudson County Administration Building

Hudson County Administration Building (595 Newark Avenue) was constructed on the site of the old county jail.

Photo: P. Shalhoub, 2002

Hudson County Courthouse and Jail

Detail from the 1919 Atlas of Jersey City and Bayonne. The 1845 court house building was taken down in 1912. It stood on the open space between the 1910 courthouse and the old jail.

Credits: New York Society of Model Engineer's Library, Rich Taylor Collection and
Historical Maps of New Jersey site of Rutgers University

Hudson County Courthouse and Jail

Detail of the 1928 Atlas of Jersey City showing the new Hudson County jail at 578 Pavonia Avenue near the Central Avenue Trolley, Willow Court and Lott Street. The elevated trolley line was closed in 1949. Willow Court was acquired and closed by Hudson County for the construction of the new Administration Building in 1953.

Credits: New York Society of Model Engineer's Library, Rich Taylor Collection and
Historical Maps of New Jersey site of Rutgers University

Hudson County Courthouse (1910)

William J. Brennan Hudson County Courthouse
Newark Avenue Facade

Photo: P. Shalhoub, 2002

Hudson County (Brennan) Courthouse

Courtesy, RF Smith

Location: Old Hudson County Courthouse & Jail Site

Hudson County Courthouse (1845)

The First Hudson County Court House
Newark Avenue, between Baldwin Avenue and Willow Court
(northwest of the Brennan Court House)

The Classic Neo-Greek revival building, fronted by six Doric columns with a pedimented temple-front, opened March 11, 1845. It was designed by William Kirk with Thomas Thomas, a carpenter, and William Brown, a mason, the project's lowest bidders. It became Hudson County's first permanent courthouse after its separation from Bergen County in1840. Multiple building extensions, including a Hall of Records, were constructed as needed in keeping with the original structure. The original structure was 75 feet in length with 75 feet added years later. It was replaced by the Brennan Hudson County Court House in 1910.

The distance of Bergen County Court House in Hackensack from the southern parts of the original Bergen County to Bayonne influenced the decision for the separate County of Hudson. On February 22, 1940, the state legislature approved the founding of  Hudson County with the municipalities of Jersey City, Bergen, and Harrison.

Although each city wanted to be the site of the County seat, Bergen won the decision by a popular vote. For the next five years, court sessions were held in temporary locations such as the Lyceum Hall in Paulus Hook and the Newkirk House at the junction of Newark Turnpike and Hoboken Road, now Five Corners. In February 1843, the northern part of  Hudson County was designated as a new municipality called North Bergen, as it was essentially the northern part of Bergen Township. Its southern boundary was the New Jersey Railroad cut; it included all that part of modern Jersey City north of Journal Square and Five Corners.

On October 17, 1844, John Tonele, Jr., Director of the Board of Chosen Freeholders, presided over the procession and cornerstone laying ceremony for the new courthouse. According to Hudson County historian Charles H. Winfield:  "In the stone were deposited the newspapers of the day, published in New York, Jersey City, Newark, Trenton, &c., Reports on Education, School Fund and Finances of the State and county, several coins, a parchment roll containing a list of all the county officers, the Governor, State officers, the President of the United States, and other officers of the General Government." (Winfield 1873 p 335)

On January 19, 1912, contractor Thomas Hill purchased the rights to demolish, disassemble, and remove the old courthouse building from the site for $700. Demolition began in February. Hill sold the debris as builders' materials, such as $500 worth of brownstone from the exterior walls. He also incorporated the salvaged building materials into new structures. The Hall of Records, a relatively new structure built around 1892, contained $5,000 worth of iron girders and a large quantity of green-colored Newfoundland sandstone for its exterior facing. 

On June 6th, during the later phases of demolitionHill uncovered the original 1844 cornerstone, which held disintegrated papers and two 1930s coins. The razing of the stately columns revealed their hollow interior formed by a ring of inward-pointing bricks and fabrication of their fluted concrete exterior.  An ornamental cast-iron ornamental lamp with five glass globes withstood the demolition.

Hudson County Courthouse (1845) - References