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The Courthouse, Butler County Court House, and recently, the Historic Courthouse, was the fifth building to officially house Butler County courts. Funding for the present building was approved by the Ohio General Assembly Jan. 28, 1885, and the cornerstone ceremony was held Oct. 29 of the same year when the county had about 45,000 inhabitants. It occupies the block bounded by High, Court, South Front and South Second streets in Hamilton. The four-story structure, which cost about $305,000, was accepted and occupied by the county Feb. 4, 1889. In more than 100 years, it has survived fire, flood, many storms and other attacks from nature, the worst being the March 14, 1912, fire which took the lives of three Hamilton firemen. The first term of the Butler County Common Pleas Court was held in July 1803 in a tavern operated by John Torrance at Dayton and Water (Front) streets in Hamilton. From 1803 until 1810 court sessions were held in another temporary structure, a building which had been part of Fort Hamilton. In 1810 a two-story building was erected on the south side of the public square donated by Israel Ludlow with a jail on the first floor and a courtroom on the upper level. In 1817 a new two-story courthouse was built on the same site. It was used until June 1885 when demolition began to permit construction of the present courthouse. In 1975 county commissioners authorized construction of a county administrative center on the north side of High Street opposite the courthouse. Its completion enabled the removal of non-court related offices from the courthouse. The Butler County Administrative Center (130 High Street) -- a $2.9 million project providing 66,000 square feet of space -- was dedicated Dec. 5, 1976. Another expansion came in 1999 when many county functions, including most courts, were transferred to the Butler County Governmental Services Center (315 High Street) at the southwest corner of High Street and Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Boulevard (see separate entry). Since that 1999 move, the occupied in 1889 has been referred to as the Historic Courthouse.

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