The building, which is now an annex of City Hall, was
Bridgeport's first Courthouse and was built in 1853-54 on a
lot between State and Bank Streets on the East side of the
The building's construction ended a long dispute with
Norwalk over which city should have the honor of being the
county seat. Bridgeport's offer to pay for the building of a
courthouse and jail settled the dispute.
The building, which cost
$75,000, was designed by Alexander Jackson Davis in the
Greek Revival-style, which resembles a temple. The building
had two main floors for court and county government, a large
ground floor for use as City Hall and a large gathering
space, Washington Hall, for public meetings. The building
was opened in 1855 and on March 10, 1860, Abraham Lincoln
spoke to a standing-room-only crowd gathered in Washington
was claimed to be sufficient for "all time", the new
building soon proved inadequate for the growing business of
Bridgeport and the county. Ironically, though it had been
built near the public square for convenience, this soon
became a nuisance when court was in session because of the
increasing noise levels in the streets below. Streetcars
became a particular annoyance to those who conducted their
business in the Courthouse.
In 1886 the
County Bar Association and county representatives met and
decided it was time to build another Courthouse. Once again
Norwalk bid for the Courthouse to be moved and offered
$100,000. But the Bridgeport group voted to appropriate
$150,000 and soon won legislative approval in April 1886. A
few members of the Bridgeport committee included the Hon.
Sidney B. Beardsley as well as P.T. Barnum.
A site was
chosen near the northwest corner of Golden Hill and Main
Streets and the cornerstone was laid on June 24, 1887.
castle-like building. designed by architect Warren R.
Briggs, was completed and opened in 1888.
Today it is
Geographical Area (GA) Courthouse No. 2 at Bridgeport, where
all but the most serious criminal cases are heard.