Chemung County is named for a Lenape word meaning “big horn”, which was the name of a local Native American village.
Created: March 29, 1836
Elmira 1836 – present
County Courthouse – Elmira
Location: 203 Lake Street / Gray Street
Built: 1861 – 1862
Architect: Horatio Nelson White of Syracuse
Contractor: David Wilcox of Syracuse.
Description: The building faces west and is a two story white colored brick structure. The building is located on landscaped grounds in the center of Elmira. The west front has a projecting center section with three high arches and recessed entrance on the first story. Above the entrance are three vertical arched windows. At the northwest corner is a high square tower with open belfry. A projecting cornice runs below the second story windows. The building forms part of the courthouse complex with the Treasurer’s Building built in 1836 on the north and the Clerk’s Office on the south built in 1876 to 1894.
Note: Before 1836, the county was part of Tioga County. In 1791, the first court met at the home of George Hornwell in Chemung. A courthouse was built at Union in 1793 and at Chenango Point ( Birminghamton ) in 1793. A courthouse was built at Newtown ( Elmira ) in 1794. Spencer became the county seat in 1811 and a two story wood courthouse was built by Andrew Purdy at a cost of $5595. The building burned in 1821. In 1822, a temporary courthouse was built. In 1822, the county seat was moved to Owego and a courthouse was built by Ralph Manning of Berkshire and Seth Bacon of Candor. In 1836, the county was created and the courthouse in Elmira became the first county courthouse.
E – Tioga County
W – Steuben County
Clerk’s Office – 1876 – 1894
Treasurer’s Building – 1836
Photos taken 2010