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Delaware County Courthouse Square District


The Delaware County Courthouse Square District was listed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1973. Portions of the content on this web page were adapted and transcribed from a copy of the original nomination document. [1] Adaptation copyright © 2009, The Gombach Group.

Description

The Delaware County Courthouse Square District in the rural village of Delhi is a distinctive and unspoiled grouping of 19th century governmental, commercial, and religious structures centered around an open space. Built upon the village green are the county courthouse and clerk's office, the sheriff's office and jail, and a bandstand. The district also includes the buildings surrounding the green.

Those buildings surrounding the square are set off from the courthouse by the scale and material employed in the construction. Generally they are two or three story wood frame structures with clapboard covering. The Main Street buildings have predominantly gable roofs while those on Court Street have flat roofs with decorative cornices.

The imposing two and a half story red brick courthouse dominates the square. Complete with a mansard slate roof, the structure has a four story entrance tower with mansard roof and elaborate dormers. Ornate brick work is a unifying element of the courthouse. A decorative box cornice and frieze, pilastered columns and recessed semicircular and centre pointed window openings are examples of the outstanding masonry. The windows are slim semi-circular headed sash. A large one story stone arch serves as the main entrance way.

Other outstanding structures in the Delaware County Courthouse Square District include the following.

The sheriff's office and jail which is a free standing two and a half story red brick building immediately to the east of the courthouse. Similar in design to the courthouse, it has a pyramidal roof with several projecting gables.

Designed by Charles Hathaway and built in 1831, the one story clapboard church with gable roof has an elaborate centre steeple of varying levels, one of which houses a clock face. The doorway is centered under the tower and framed by a moulded entablature and ionic columns.

Directly south of the church is the two story rectangular Delaware National Bank Building also designed by Hathaway and built in 1838. The structure has a gabled roof, columned entrance and Greek Revival elements.

A two story frame structure on a raised foundation stands directly behind the courthouse. The clapboard building with square tower was the former courthouse and now serves as the village office building and fire hall.

Significance

The Delaware County Courthouse Historic District portrays a significant chapter of county development within the rural confines of a small village. The area is a typical small town courthouse square with the Courthouse in the center and is surrounded by a combination of governmental, religious, and commercial structures that represent the center of county and village life. It is remarkable in the degree to which its architectural integrity has been preserved.

While several of the buildings predate the mid 19th century a second wave of development began in the Post Civil War Era. Conflagrations of small assorted buildings gave way to the erection of new brick and wooden buildings in the busy sections of the village.

As part of this movement the Board of Supervisors acted in 1868 to replace the wood frame courthouse. Threatened by the danger of losing the county seat, the people of Delhi voted $10,000 towards the erection of a new building. The County supervisors voted to expend the sum of $30,000 for a brick building trimmed with stone. The specifications for materials as well as the engagement of Isaac G. Perry to design the structure reflect the county's desire for a building of elegance and stature. Over a century later the structure remains little altered and continues to serve as the center of the county government.

It is interesting to note that the Bank building, dating to 1838 and the Presbyterian Church constructed in 1831 were both designed by Charles Hathaway, a county judge and surrogate and an agent for Robert Livingston during the Anti-Rent War.

The well preserved Delaware County Courthouse Square District stands a tribute to the village's growth in the 19th century and to its long service as county seat.

References

Files. Delaware County Historical Society.

Files. N.Y.S. Division for Historic Preservation.

Village of Delhi. Sesqui-Centennial Book, (Delhi, 1971)

  1. Levy, Steven S., N.Y. State Division for Historic Preservation, Delaware County Courthouse Square District, nomination document, 1973, National Park Service, National Register of Historic Places, Washington, D.C.

Delaware County Courthouse Square District Map

Street Names
2nd Street • Church Street • Court Street • Main Street

**Information is deemed reliable but not guaranteed. You should independently verify any information you use for decision making.
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