By 1824 the newly formed Wayne County had built its first court house and jail in a two story brick building in the designated county seat, Lyons. Located in the village square, the building soon needed extensive repairs and by 1850 the basement jail had fallen into a deplorable condition. It was decided that two structures should replace the original building which was destroyed in a fire, and in 1854 a new court house and jail were erected. The final cost of the court house and jail as reported in 1856 was set at $43,906.16
Only one court house in the fourteen counties formed from the original Ontario County is older than the Wayne County court house – the one in Yates County built in Penn Yan in 1835.
No court house in the state is more symmetrical or more imposing than Wayne’s, from its crowned dome to its long, stately entrance columns and classic flight of stone steps. Details within are equally beautiful, among them many ceiling with raised garland designs. The most remarkable feature of this building is the large, old courtroom on the second floor, preserved for the most part in its original appearance. With its spectators’ gallery, richly detailed woodwork, tall narrow windows, and lavish appointments, it remains one of the most handsome of the historic courtrooms in the state. Click Here for a 360 degree panorama of the old courtroom.
Today the original building still looks the same as it did in 1856, even though a whole complex has grown around the simple structure behind its distinctive wrought iron fence which has been in place since completion of the court house.