Courthouse survives through time
Fri, 16 Mar 2012 15:44:28 GMT —
At one time, every county office was located in the Berrien County Courthouse. But the one that stands today is actually the second courthouse for the county.
The original courthouse was built in 1856 completely out of wood. In 1898, they decided they needed a more permanent courthouse and built the one that stands today in the exact same location. This second courthouse is nearly fireproof, built entirely out of bricks, steel and concrete.
"It's one of the few courthouses in the state that's never burned, never had a fire in it. So all of our records and everything from the county are all intact," said Brian Shaw, a volunteer with the Berrien Historical Foundation.
The courthouse was remodeled in 1981 and is on the National Register of Historical Places. More than a hundred years since the courthouse was built, it has some of the original furniture.
A new County Administration Building was built in 2007 which now houses all the county offices but the 1989 court room is still used on occasion as an overflow room. It sees about a case a week.
The Berrien Historical Foundation, Chamber of Commerce and Nashville Better Hometown all call this courthouse home. The first floor also holds a rotating historical exhibit highlighting different aspects of the county.
The courthouse is open weekdays from 9:00 to 5:00 and Saturdays by appointment.