Cass County hosts Historic Courthouse open house

Published 4:08 pm Friday, May 26, 2023

Getting your Trinity Audio player ready...

CASSOPOLIS — The Cass County Historic Courthouse has faithfully watched over the Village of Cassopolis for 124 years. After nearly two decades of vacancy, county leaders are working to ensure the building is not only a symbol of the county’s storied past, but also a part of its promising future.

The Cass County Board of Commissioners hosted an open house of the historic courthouse as its renovation project gets underway. Guests were able to fill out a quiz sheet on Cass County history as a way to interact and learn more about the local history.

Last October,  the Cass County Board of Commissioners approved a $9.7 million courthouse renovation project – $8.1 million of it being allocated from the county’s American Rescue Plan Act fund and $1.5 million committed from the county’s Public Improvement Fund.

The Cass County courthouse was originally constructed in 1899 and modernized in 1974. The courthouse annex, which is where Cass County administration works out of today, was built in 1971. The courthouse was vacated in 2003 after the new Cass County Law and Courts building opened.

After years of planning, the commissioners are excited for the project to begin.

“It means a great deal,” said Commissioner Roseann Marchetti. “I’ve had residents say I was married in the old courthouse, and a former mailman had to take a self-service exam. So it means a great deal to be able to bring it back to life.”

Upon completion, the historic courthouse will serve county residents through the offices of the administrator, clerk, treasurer, equalization, veterans services, geographic information systems, information technology and of course, commissioner chambers.

“That (annex) building has no windows,” said Commissioner Ryan Laylin. “We’re looking forward to getting back into office space where you can actually look outside. It’s one of the oldest buildings in the area so it’ll be nice to revitalize it and get it back to the point where it needs to be.”

The renovated courthouse is expected to reopen next year.

“We’re excited to get the building back where it needs to be and have some of the historical value put back into it,” said Commissioner Joyce Locke.