Walls start to come down at old Will County Courthouse

Demolition expected to be completed by March

A wreaking ball takes its first swing for the external demolition of the old Will County Courthouse on Friday, Feb. 9th 2024 in Joliet.

Demolition of the old Will County Courthouse entered a new phase Friday morning as a wrecking claw began swinging at the walls of the building.

The moment marked the start of exterior demolition after the insides of the building have been cleared out.

The new Will County Courthouse sits in the background as a claw begin working on the external demolition of the old Will County Courthouse on Friday, Feb. 9th 2024 in Joliet.

Passers-by on Jefferson Street in downtown Joliet now can see right through the courthouse building, as glass was removed from the windows and chunks of the fourth story were knocked down.

Observers watching Friday morning included Will County Executive Jennifer Bertino-Tarrant and Will County State’s Attorney James Glasgow.

Will County Executive Jennifer Bertino-Tarrant documents the beginning of the external demolition of the old Will County Courthouse on Friday, Feb. 9th 2024 in Joliet.

“You always get a little sad when something comes to an end,” Bertino-Tarrant said later. “But this marks a new beginning for the future of downtown Joliet.”

Future use of the land has not been decided, although the Will County and Joliet officials have discussed the possibility of a future city-county government building on the site.

Will County State’s Attorney James Glasgow (center) watches the beginning of the external demolition of the old Will County Courthouse on Friday, Feb. 9th 2024 in Joliet.

Demolition is expected to be completed by March, when site restoration will begin, county officials have said. The plan is to plant grass and open the site, including the monuments that still stand in front of the building, to the public.

Dust creates a silhouette of the popular statue outside the old Will County Courthouse as it is gutted and ready for the external demolition which is expected to happen on Monday, Feb. 12th 2024 in Joliet.

The 1969 courthouse building, noted by preservationists who tried to save the building for its representation of the Brutalist school of architecture prominent at the time of its design, was replaced in 2020 by the new courthouse building just to the west on the other side of Ottawa Street.

American Demolition Corp. out of Carol Stream is doing the demolition at a price tag of $1.5 million.