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Middletown 1906 - showing back of court (with clock tower)
Postmarked 1906

Middlesex County Courthouses

Postmarked 1910

Middletown Courthouse
Postmarked 1907

Middlesex County Courthouse
Postmarked 1907

Postmarked 1909

Middlesex County Courthouse
Postmarked 1910

Aerial View of Middletown, Connecticut
Postmarked 1910

Main Street, Middletown, CT
Published pre-1915

Main Street, Middletown, CT
Copyright pre-1920s

Middlesex County Courthouse

Main St., Middletown
Postmarked 1920

Main St., Middletown
Published early to mid 1940's

Haddam Courthouse
Haddam Courthouse, Postmarked 1920

After the formation of Middlesex County in 1785, Middletown and Haddam were designated as county seats. That prompted the construction of the first courthouse in Middletown. The first two courthouses in Middletown had interesting histories. The frame of the original Courthouse (not shown), built in 1788, was built for 750 gallons of rum and 231 gallons of molasses.

Thirty-nine "Subscribers" donated money, rum, building materials or other services to complete the 75 x 40 feet structure. That building, which stood on the north side of Court Street at the corner of Pearl, served as a County Courthouse for more than 30 years before critics called for a replacement. A report in The New Haven Journal on March 9, 1825, described the increasingly dilapidated Courthouse as "…clumsy and decayed…[which] threatens to come tumbling on the heads of those who are within its reach."

Responding to the criticism, the city constructed a new and bigger Courthouse in 1832 on the West Side of Main Street in the block between College and Court Streets. It was a Greek Revival-style courthouse made of brick and stucco with broad steps in front and six porticoes. The cost at the time was $10,000, which was shared by the county and the city. Besides providing offices for court personnel and courtrooms for legal proceedings, the Courthouse also was home to the town clerk and selectmen. Records for the court, the city and the town were also stored there.

In March 1874, a special city meeting was held and a proposal to erect a tower with a clock and a fire alarm bell on the Courthouse was presented. The city fathers agreed to the plan, constructed the clock tower and on September 10th, 1874, the new bell arrived in Middletown from the Jones Company in Troy, NY. The 4,000-pound bell was placed in the tower that day.

But demand for a bigger and more modern building called for this courthouse to be torn down in 1893. In its place a new City Hall was constructed, a towering structure made of Portland brownstone and built in the Romanesque revival style. Courtrooms were also housed in the structure that became one of Middletown's most memorable landmarks. The building was noted for its clock tower that towered 100 feet above the sidewalk and offered extensive views up and down the Connecticut River. The clock would strike 18 times at 6 a.m. and then again at 6 p.m. to signal the beginning and the end of the workday.

In 1961, when the building was less than 70 years old, it was torn down to make way for a new City Hall, which was relocated to a site overlooking the Connecticut River and Route 9. The City Hall was part of the Court Place Project Area that included the new Courthouse, built in the late 1950s.

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Middletown City Hall and Courthouse
Published early 1920's


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