In 1837 the County
offices were moved out of Herrington's Tavern into a new Courthouse on the corner of 4th
and State Streets in Geneva. Total construction cost for this Courthouse was $3,000. Seven
years later Kane County had outgrown these quarters and a new Courthouse, constructed of
quarry stone, was built on the site of the present Geneva City Hall on Rt. 31.
the jail and the Courthouse soon created a need for a newer and larger building, and in
1854 bids were let for construction at the site of the present Courthouse on 3rd Street in
Geneva. Disputes with the contractor over completion dates and workmanship prevented the
building from being occupied until 1857.
The new Courthouse was a magnificent structure, considered the most
important architectural monument in Kane County. It was designed by John M. Van Osdel, one
of Chicago's leading architects. The ornate, three-story limestone building was capped
with a large cupola which became a favorite valley vantage point.
On the night of
March 13, 1890, Kane County lost one of its most prized buildings when the Courthouse
burned. Fortunately, the records of the recorder, County Clerk, and the Circuit Clerk were
locked in fireproof vaults and not damaged.
For the next
two years, the County rented a house at 2nd and Campbell Streets in Geneva for $30 a month
in order to conduct County business. The clerks crowded into the various rooms and the
judges held court in the dining room.
The Kane County Board commissioned Chicago architects W. J. Edbrooke and
Franklin P. Burnham to design the new Courthouse and jail. The massive 4-story Courthouse
which stands today is still regarded as one of the finest in Illinois. The original
construction cost was $195,000. The square dome rises high above the rotunda. Decorative
ironwork railings encircle each floor and eleven murals, depicting various scenes from the
County, are painted on the arches of the 4th floor.
Soon the County
Board was faced with problems in the County jail. The 1892 facility had come under attack
for being "totally inadequate" and having "deplorable conditions." In
June of 1972, construction was authorized on the new jail, called the Kane County
Corrections Complex, located on Fabyan Parkway in Geneva. The new institution cost 3½
continued growth of Kane County, the Courthouse was also crowded and the County had been
forced to rent a number of downtown homes for additional office space. In November of
1972, the County purchased the Sacred Heart Seminary on Rt. 31 in Geneva. Remodeling began
and by spring of 1975, all County administrative offices had moved to the site, called the
Kane County Government Center.
1975, the County Board empowered the Public Building Commission to refurbish the
Courthouse and convert the vacated administrative offices into space for the Circuit Court
and Clerk. Subsequent growth of the County in the 1980's required the acquisition of the
former Sixth Street School to house the Family Court and the rental of space in the former
Campana building on Rt. 31 and Fabyan Parkway for the offices of the Circuit Clerk.
The County continued to rapidly grow, and once again the 1892 Courthouse
became exceedingly crowded. In 1991 the County Board approved the construction of the Kane
County Judicial Center to be located on Route 38 in St. Charles. The Judicial Center was
opened in October of 1993.