1ST COURTHOUSE

Program
NYS Historic
Subject
Government
Location
Court Street , Aurora, NY
Lat/Long
42.755854, -76.701648
Grant Recipient
Village of Aurora
Historic Marker

1ST COURTHOUSE

Inscription

1ST COURTHOUSE
IN CAYUGA COUNTY, ERECTED
HERE C.1795, CONSISTING OF
CROTCHED POSTS AND POLES
COVERED WITH BRUSH,
IN USE FOR SEVERAL YEARS
WILLIAM G. POMEROY FOUNDATION

In the late 18th century as the Village of Aurora, New York was beginning to develop, it first courthouse was erected in 1795.

According to Temple Rice Hollcroft’s 1976 book, A Brief History of Aurora, New York, Seth Phelps moved with his family to Aurora from Groton, Connecticut in 1791. Phelps and his nephew John Walworth purchased Lot 34. Several years following the purchase, in 1794, Phelps and Walworth subdivided the lot with Phelps taking ownership of the northern half of the property (County Atlas of Cayuga, New York).

As people increasingly began to relocate from the eastern seaboard further west into New York State, the counties of the state became more defined. Phelps was elected First Judge of Onondaga County from 1794 to 1799. In 1799, Cayuga County was formed and he subsequently became First Judge of that county, serving until 1810 (A Brief History of Aurora, New York). Phelps hosted the first Circuit Court at his home in Aurora. It wasn’t until 1795 that construction began on a courthouse to serve the growing village of Aurora and as county seat. According to Elliot Storke’s History of Cayuga County, New York (1879), the courthouse “consisted of crotched posts set in the ground, and supporting poles covered with brush.” Aurora’s new courthouse served the community for a few years until 1805 when the county seat was moved to the city of Auburn.