Old Will County Courthouse walls may start coming down next week

Demolition continues on the old Will County Courthouse on Thursday, Feb. 1st 2024 in Joliet.

The demolition company taking apart the old Will County Courthouse plans to start knocking down walls next week.

Structural demolition is expected to begin on an undetermined day next week, with the wrecking ball starting on the southeast side of the building, Will County Executive’s Office spokesman Michael Theodore said Friday.

Theodore said interior demolition is almost complete, and most of the windows of the building have been removed.

American Demolition Corp. of Carol Stream began interior demolition in December.

At the time, county officials said exterior demolition likely would start sometime in late January or February.

An aerial view of workers demolishing the old Will County Courthouse on Tuesday, Jan. 30, 2024 downtown Joliet.

Complete demolition is expected by March, when site restoration will begin, Theodore said.

The site will be graded, and grass will be planted where the building now stands. Memorials and monuments standing in front of the courthouse will remain.

“The plaza in front of the current building will remain in place and open to the public,” Theodore said in an email. “Our office is working with the city of Joliet to determine how this open space can best serve residents in the short term while the long-term plans for the site are decided.”

The courthouse was built in 1969 and vacated in November 2020, when the courthouse just to the west of it opened.

The courthouse’s stark concrete walls and angular structures were viewed by preservationists as one of the region’s best examples of the Brutalist school of architecture. A local attempt to save the building attracted wide interest.

Landmarks Illinois added the courthouse to its list of endangered historic places and joined the unsuccessful effort to save the building.