The Elgin County Courthouse was one of the earliest county courthouses built in Ontario and has been a St. Thomas landmark for more than 150 years.  

The courthouse is a prominent example of the combined courthouse, jail and county buildings erected by counties across Canada West before Confederation. At the time, these complexes were a requirement to achieve full county status.

Built in 1852-53 by architect John Turner, the original courthouse was a three-storey, domed Palladian-style building constructed of stone and yellow brick. Gutted by fire in 1898, the courthouse was rebuilt and expanded the following year with the addition of flanking wings, entrance porches, a copper roofed dome and new interior finishes. 

The courthouse was the home of Elgin County's Superior Court until it was relocated in 2010 to allow for construction of the new, consolidated courthouse.

The former Land Registry Office, originally built in 1874 (with additions in 1880 and 1909) is representative of the post-Confederation standardization of registry offices by the Province of Ontario. Plans and specifications for a standard registry office were prepared by Ontario's Chief Architect's Office and distributed to county councils. The standard plans incorporated architectural features designed to keep county land records safe by preventing fire and flood and discouraging theft. This one-storey, yellow-brick building with gabled wings, round-arched openings and barrel-vaulted interior spaces is among the earliest built to the 1868 standardized plan. 

The Land Registry Office is the new home of the Elgin County Law Association in the restored and expanded courthouse.  

The interiors of the historic buildings have been extensively refurbished while retaining most of their exterior facades. Existing heritage features of the two buildings, including the copper roofed dome, original furniture and fittings, decorative plaster work, stained glass, wainscoting and window trim have been preserved and incorporated into the new design. 

When the restored and expanded courthouse opens for business on March 24, 2014, it will mark the beginning of a new chapter in a 160-year tradition of justice administration in Elgin County.