Full Text:"Centerville" is born near center of McHenry County Drawing by Jim Pearson The Woodstock Square was laid out in 1844 by early settler Alvin Judd as part of his scheme to get his imaginary "Centerville55 named as county seat. Lake County had just been formed, reducing McHenry County by half, and McHenry, then the county seat, was now on the eastern boundary rather than in the middle. The first courthouse had been established in McHenry in 1840. The citizens of the county expressed some dissatisfaction that the county seat was not more centrally-located. The battle over moving the county seat was bitterly fought between McHenry, Crystal Lake, Walkup's Corners (four miles east of Woodstock) and "Centerville,55 with Centerville being the winner in an election. As part of the deal, two acres of land were conveyed to the County, and a court house was built in the center. The court records were officially moved in September of 1844. An unsubstantiated story from that time claims that the county seat dispute was so intense that officials from Centerville traveled to McHenry in disguise and moved the records in the dark of night. After Judd layed out the plat, he sold it to George C. Dean, who recorded it in June 1844. The town was carefully planned, platted and surveyed into lots and blocks before settlers came. Because there were many villages and towns called Centerville across the United States, they decided to change the name of their town to something less common. In February, 1845, the Legislature of the State passed an act changing the name to Woodstock, after Woodstock, Vermont, which was the native place of early settler Joel H. Johnson, as well as others. Woodstock was incorporated as a village June 22, 1852, with Alvin Judd serving as the first president. In 1873, the town changed to a city form of government. The first courthouse was built by George Dean in 1844 in the center of the square. The courtroom of this building also served as the first church and the first school. The first house within the limits of the town plat was a log building built by Bradford Burbank in 1843. Alvin Judd erected a frame building, second house in the town, in 1844, and opened the first tavern. Joel H. Johnson built the third house in the winter of 1845-6. A new courthouse was erected in 1857 at a cost of $47,000. In 1858, an arrangement was made whereby the citizens of Woodstock donated the land on the west side of the Square to the County, which in turn ceded the Square back to the village. The site was occupied by a tavern, so the old court house was made over to the tavern's owner. Less than a year later, however, it was destroyed by fire.