Cahokia Courthouse

Cahokia Courthouse

Built about 1740 as a four-room private residence by Jean le Poincet and later purchased by Francois Saucier, son of the designer of Fort de Chartres, the Cahokia Courthouse is an example of the French Creole poteaux-sur-solle (post-on-sill) construction method which French settlers brought over their native Normandy in northern France. In this method upright hewn logs are seated on a horizontal log sill and the spaces between the logs are filled with stone and mortar chinking. This type of construction is different from the more familiar horizontal Anglo-American style and is quite rare with only about thirty buildings of this type left in North America. The vertical-log Courthouse has a double-pitch roof of cedar shingles and galleries on all four sides. Inside are three exhibit rooms and another furnished to represent the courtroom in the 1790s. Exhibits in the Courthouse depict issues that came before the court around 1800 and a history of the structure as it was moved in the early twentieth century to St. Louis and Chicago before its eventual return to Cahokia. Interior features include two massive limestone fireplaces, shuttered casement windows, and French-style doors. The Courthouse staff and volunteers provide guided tours, or guests may experience the site at their leisure. Exhibits in the Courthouse depict issues that came before the court around 1800 and a history of the structure as it was moved in the early twentieth century to St. Louis and Chicago before its eventual return to Cahokia. The Courthouse is not fully disabled accessible. The visitor center houses exhibits depicting the Jarrot Mansion, currently undergoing restoration, and placing area historic sites within the context of the eighteenth-century French occupation.

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