1839 Courthouse Museum Web Site
Greek Revival buildings, like the 1839 Courthouse, emulated the architecture of ancient Greece with the large columns, triangular pediment and white paint on Berrien County’s temple of justice. Completed in 1839, Berrien County’s Greek Revival-style courthouse was designed by local architect Gilbert B. Avery. Now restored, the square contains Michigan’s oldest courthouse as part of the Midwest’s most complete surviving mid-nineteenth century county government complex. Today the square houses a county museum and archives and serves as headquarters for the Berrien County Historical Association. Its original buildings are listed on the National Register of Historic Places. The gallery on the first floor of the 1839 Courthouse is devoted to exhibits on Berrien County history. Topics covered include early colonial forts, the fur trade, railroads, the Civil War, early Berrien County industries, Native Americans and area pre-history. The Sheriff’s House gallery hosts changing exhibits. Open year-round, hours vary so please phone ahead. Classroom programs include living-history presentations. Teachers can invite a Civil War soldier or French voyageur to speak to their class. Students are even invited to ask questions of their historic visitor.