Welland County Courthouse

Designed by Kivas Tully, the Welland County Courthouse opened in 1856

image of current day courthouse
Welland Courthouse
image of an exhibit inside the courthouse
Courthouse Exhibits
image of current day courthouse
Welland Courthouse
image of current day courthouse
Welland Courthouse
image of courthouse archive
Welland Courthouse late 1800s
image of the courthouse steeple
Courthouse Steeple
image of the courthouse fire
Courthouse Fire June 1913

The Welland Courthouse cost more than $100,000 to build. That was a significant amount in 1856. It was practically gutted by fire 57 years later on the afternoon of Wednesday, June 11, 1913. Only the first floor remained partly untouched by the flames. When the fire was brought under control, the stone shell was practically all that was left of the structure. Defective electric wiring was said to be the origin of the fire.

Initial courthouse staff consisted of the jail’s governor, a turnkey assistant, and three guards. The jail was reported as having a maximum capacity for 72 prisoners – 60 male and 12 female. Each block contained five cells, with a single open toilet.

The Welland Courthouse also housed a death cell for those condemned to die. A gallows set up in the execution yard allowed hangings, with the first taking place in 1859. The stone wall facing East Main Street was the site of the jail yard and gallows; however, early in the 20th century, hangings were moved inside the building.

The last execution at the courthouse took place 99 years after the first execution. On January 17, 1958, the last man was executed in the gallows by hanging for a murder conviction.

Designed by Kivas Tully, the Welland County Courthouse (Cross and East Main Streets) opened in 1856 and was used to house the first Welland County Council meeting. Made of Queenston limestone, it is a must-see for architectural and historical enthusiasts. Take a stroll through judicial history and visit the Court House Museum on the second floor.