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 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 demolition, Hill uncovered the original 1844 cornerstone. The contents contained only disintegrated papers and two coins from the early 1830s.
As the stately columns were pulled down, their design was revealed. They had a hollow interior formed by a ring of inward-pointing bricks and their fluted exterior formed from concrete. An ornamental cast-iron ornamental lamp with five glass globes withstood the demolition.