History of the Courthouse

Located in the Old Courthouse on the Historic Square in downtown Woodstock, IL
The Old McHenry County Courthouse, in McHenry County, Illinois, was listed on the National Register of Historic Places on November 1, 1974. Once the courthouse in the county seat of McHenry County, Woodstock, today the courthouse is occupied by the Public House of Woodstock. It is one of the key structures in the Woodstock Square Historic District.

The 1857 Italianate Old Courthouse was constructed to closely resemble the 1853 Cook County Courthouse (which was eventually destroyed during the Great Chicago Fire). The structure was designed by John M. Van Osdel, the first licensed architect in Chicago. The adjoining structure, the Sheriff’s House and Jail was built in 1887. It was there, in the Sheriff’s House and Jail that Eugene Debs was held for his refusal to comply with an injunction during the Pullman Strike. Until 1973 McHenry County government office were located in the Old Courthouse. When the government moved out, the building was threatened with demolition, as it stood on prime commercial property. On November 1, 1974,it was recognized by the National Park Service on the National Register of Historic Places. Eight years later it was listed as a contributing property to the Woodstock Square Historic District, a 13-acre (5.3 ha) corridor in downtown Woodstock.

The movie classic Groundhog Day was filmed in downtown Woodstock in 1992. An American fantasy comedy film directed by Harold Ramis, starring Bill Murray, Andie MacDowell, and Chris Elliott. A famous scene from the movie takes place at our bar area which has now been renovated. Join us each year as we celebrate Ground Hogs Day in Woodstock, IL.