The Lancaster County Historic Courthouse, located at 100 N. Main Street, was designed by Robert Mills, recognized as America's first architect and designer of the Washington Monument. It was built in 1828 and was used as a hall of justice for nearly two centuries. That came to an abrupt end in the early morning hours of August 4, 2008, when an arsonist attempted to demolish the building. Its roof and main floor were completely destroyed. Fortunately, the outer walls were up to 24 inches thick and remained intact. Likewise, its rear Palladian window, considered one of the finest in America, was spared.
Designated as a National Historic Landmark in 1973 by the U.S. Department of Interior, it was fully restored in 2011, along with landscaping and sidewalk improvements. It currently serves as the Historic Museum of Lancaster County.
Construction on the new Lancaster County Courthouse was completed in 2012. It is located next to the Historic Courthouse and houses the Clerk of Court's Office, Family Court, Probate Court, the Sixth Circuit Solictor and Public Defenders Offices, amongst others. It is located at 104 N. Main Street, directly beside the Historic Courthouse.
The Historic Courthouse is now open to the public again after a long COVID closure. Public hours are 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Monday and Wednesday, and by appointment the first and third Saturdays of each month. Appointments may be made for other days but will be at the convenience of the Lancaster County Historical Commission members. The Commission has also formed a "Friends of the Museum" group, which anyone is welcome to join. For more information about the group or to schedule an appointment, Email the Commission.
The top floor of the Historic Courthouse is now used as an event venue and can be rented for corporate events, conferences, meetings, and special occasions, such as baby or bridal showers, birthday parties, and weddings. Click here for Historic Courthouse rental rates. Contact Donna Greene at 803-416-9508 or email for assistance with reservations.