The first Rochester Courthouse was built in 1822 by Gideon Cobb. A second courthouse was built not long after as the community began to grow. The second courthouse stood as an architectural marvel for its time with with its foundation, steps and pavement of the portico and a covered walk supported by columnns. The columnns were also made of Onondaga Limestone. The courthouse was eventually moved to the Hall of Justice in 1964.
This building is significant ibecause on June 9th ,1899, Governor Theodore Roosevelt held a public reception at the courthouse after the unveilling of the Frederick Douglass monument. The reception was to celebrate the life of Douglass after his passing. A large piano was brought up to the second floor to be used by the orchestra and the guests. All guests would enter through the courthouse and pass through to the back exit.
The courthouse building has since been repurposed into the Monroe County office building. In 1964 the courts moved to the newly built Hall of Justice and the old building was turned into the Monroe County Office Building. The current Monroe County building is actually the third iteration of the structure built at the site.
Early meetings for the Board of Supervisors for Monroe County were held in taverns and the City Hall until the first courthouse was built. The land was donated by the city's founding fathers, Rochester, Fitzhugh, and Carroll. The building has since been razed twice to accommodate a larger population.
This entry is part of a public history project developed by the RIT Museum Studies program in celebration of the bicentennial of Frederick Douglass’s birth (February 1818). The items shown in this entry are taken from a scrapbook that is one of two in the collections of the Local History and Genealogy Divisions of Central Library of Rochester and Monroe County Library.