Courthouse - Ocean County Courthouse, Toms River

Ocean County Courthouse is located at the corner of Main and Water Streets in Toms River, New Jersey. Construction of the courthouse began in May 1850, when Joseph Coward donated 6,000 bricks to begin building.(1) The structure was finished in September 1851 so that all official county business could be conducted in one building. The Sheriff’'s house and ten jail ceils were built behind the courthouse in 1851 in the Federal/Greek Revival Style (2).

The second floor of the courthouse housed the courtroom, which seated 250 persons on plain straight-backed benches.(3) The 1872 extension of the courtroom in back of the judge’'s bench, with an overhead domed skylight, brought a more Victorian look to the Greek Revival style building.(4) On October 26, 1929, a fire destroyed the new section of the courthouse. Fortunately, firefighters were able to save parts of the structure.

In 1950, the first of two additions was made to the west wing of the original courthouse, afterwards called the West Wing. This wing housed the County Clerk’s Office.(5) There was also an East Wing expansion, adding four new courtrooms.

(Mary Bransom)

Ocean County Courthouse,1850, 118 Washington Street, Toms River (Ocean County). Photograph courtesy Historic American Buildings Survey (see link below).

“The design of the Greek Revival-style Courthouse reflects the mid-nineteenth century interest in classical architecture; it was built from the architectural plan borrowed from Hudson County. With its tall Doric columns supporting a massive pedimented portico, the Courthouse is an excellent example of the temple form that was the most distinguishing feature of the Greek Revival style.”(6)

The original Greek Revival Courthouse and the Federal/Greek Revival Sheriff’'s House were placed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1983. These buildings, with their modern additions, have helped to retain the architectural integrity of Washington Street.(7)

(Mary Bransom)

(1, 3, 6, 7) Court House History (see link below)

(2, 4, 5) Ocean County Clerk (see link below)

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