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.
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.
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
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.