Site of Government Buildings #38
Buildings were constructed on this site between ca. 1729 and ca. 1828 to serve a variety of county functions. A reconstructed wood frame marks the location today, at the intersection of Richmond Road, Arthur Kill Road, and Richmond Hill Road.
The First County Courthouse was built ca. 1728-1729 on land purchased from William Tillyer on the site which is now in the bed of Arthur Kill Road at the corner of Richmond Road. Records of the Court of Sessions and Common Pleas document that court convened “at the Courthouse at Richmondtown” September 2, 1729. This First County Courthouse was burned by the British ca. 1776 during the Revolutionary War.
The Second County Jail was built to the east of the Courthouse ca. 1741, replacing the First County Jail which stood at another site nearby. A jailer’s house, built east of the jail in 1751, was converted to service as the County Poor House ca. 1759, and was replaced by 1828 with a new structure which held the The First County Clerk’s and Surrogate’s Offices. These are the structures represented by the current wood frame on the site.
In 1837, when the Third County Courthouse was completed, county functions were gathered together in the newer portion of town, up the hill on Center Street. The former government building structure was sold to John Johnson, who used it as a post office and store. Later use of the building is not well documented. The Second County Jail and First County Clerk’s office were destroyed by fire in 1895.