Friends of the Old Courthouse


The Ribbon Cutting

The City of Woodstock held a ribbon cutting on August 17, 2023 to celebrate the newly renovated Old Courthouse and Sheriff’s House, now called the Old Courthouse Center. Many Woodstock supporters joined us and had a great time viewing the buildings and taking mugshots!

The Renovation Process

The main courtroom in the Old Courthouse with the plaster walls removed and the new ceiling installed.

Cool old stuff found in the Old Courthouse! The first two images are from the ceiling in the old Northwest Area Arts Council Gallery and the last two images are from a wall in the gallery.

The carved lintel has been installed on the back of the new connector building.

Our very first elevator has been installed!

Wow! Here’s some images of the demolition taking place as the floor is being leveled in the Public House of Woodstock space.

Dusty Boots Tour #2

Thank you for joining us on our 2nd Dusty Boots Tour on October 1, 2022. This time around we were able to tour both the Old Courthouse and Sheriff’s House, even though they are construction zones. Thank you to the City of Woodstock and Bulley & Andrews for making our visit possible. Great things are happening in the Old Courthouse Center, especially the new lobby with an elevator!

2nd Annual Amazing Woodstock Race

Thank you for joining our 2nd Annual Amazing Woodstock Race on 9/10/22 and supporting Friends of the Old Courthouse and Friends of the Opera House. Our winners were “Common Denominators” pictured below with John Puzzo, President of Friends of the Opera House.

The Old Courthouse through the years.

Here’s a look at some famous inmates of the Old Courthouse Center.

Have you wondered why the parking lot on Throop Street has been closed? It is part of the new GeoThermal system for the Old Courthouse Center!

Progress in the Sheriff’s House! The first image shows the original basement floor, the second image shows the demolition stage, and the last image shows the new floor that was lowered to make the basement space more functional.

The elevator shaft is a welcome sight for the many artists that had to haul their works and supplies up the front stairs for years!

The original wood has been hiding under the yellow/gold paint!

A few new features have been exposed!

The concrete floor in the Sheriff’s House basement is being removed and lowered about a foot in order to accommodate the brewery moving in!

Drone screenshot of the removal of the chimney to allow for the new lobby and elevator. Don’t worry – bricks are being saved to be reused elsewhere in the building.

One of the many surprises discovered during the demolition stage – a debris filled room that was dug back out and will be a storage room for the Public House!

Here’s the view when you take the curved stairs to the 2nd floor.

Here’s a view from Pamela Sage Photography of the main courtroom on the 2nd floor with the scaffolding holding up the ceiling and the judge’s bench in the background highlighted by a light blue rectangle. The next image from the construction crew shows the raised floor that held the judge’s bench being removed. The bench will be saved and reinstalled in the renovated building.

Here’s a view from the dome of the Old Courthouse by Pamela Sage Photography and a picture of the dome for reference. Not many people have had the opportunity to look out from behind the “crown” of the dome.

Have you ever wondered what the purpose of these decorative rosettes were on the ceiling of the 2nd floor courtroom? They acted as early air conditioners! Since heat rises, these were opened from above and sucked the hot air into the attic while cooling the ambient temperature at floor level by about 10 degrees. Thanks to Pamela Sage Photography for both the ceiling and attic images.

Here’s a look at the 2nd floor jail cell area of the Sheriff’s House. First is the “before” picture by Pamela Sage Photography, who took a few months of her time to document the building as of late 2021 and early 2022 – thank you!! The second picture is from the construction company showing the demolition crew hard at work. Please note that some of the cells will be reinstalled in this room to preserve history and some are making their way to a museum. The last picture is after the demo with the window gone and a couple new door openings in place.

More of the courtroom ceiling has been exposed!

Another exterior change in progress – the chimney is being removed in advance of the new elevator and foyer area. The building will finally be handicapped accessible!

The awkward addition has been removed and the original wing is now exposed!


The Old McHenry County Courthouse, built in 1857, is one of the oldest buildings on the historic Woodstock Square and together with the Sheriff’s House are among the Square’s most prominent features. Our mission is to preserve these historically significant buildings so they can become cultural and economic drivers for the City of Woodstock and McHenry County for generations to come.