The square, where the courthouse would be built, was bounded by Washington, Madison, Main and Mill Streets. The first Courthouse, a twenty-two by thirty foot wooden building, was finished by 1847. Pontiac was officially incorporated in 1856.
In 1870 a fire destroyed $50,000 worth of buildings in downtown Pontiac. A second and larger courthouse was built. During Independence Day celebrations on July 4, 1874, stray fireworks started a blaze which burned the courthouse, the Union Block, and the Phoenix Block.
Undaunted, Livingston County set out to find the best possible architect to design a new and more splendid building. They settled on J.C. Cochrane, known for his work on the Capitol building in Springfield and for the Richland County courthouse. The building was finished in 1875.
The Livingston County Courthouse in Pontiac was placed on the National Register of Historic Places 1986.