May 21, 2011

At the County Courthouse Café...

DSC01412

DSC01405

... you can talk about anything, but I'd love to hear about the county courthouses of America. This one, photographed yesterday, is in Monroe, Wisconsin, the county seat of Green County. I love small cities like this, with a central square dominated by the county courthouse. Lafayette, Indiana is like this. Tell me about others that you know.

142 comments:

Fred4Pres said...

I love courthouses too. Old ones. They are wonderful.

New ones generally suck.

Trooper York said...

You want couthouses. I'll give you courthouses.

I was called for Jury duty on June 6th and I already had my postponements so I have to go.

Which is bullshit because they never let me sit on a jury.

Almost Ali said...

I think the old comments have returned.

Dustin said...

http://firechief.com/station-design/Southlake-TX.jpg

Southlake TX has the McMansion version of this.

Irene said...

Champaign Country courthouse in Urbana, Illinois.

Stop by the Courier Café
. In the mid-1980s, tt was one of my favorite places for lunch.

Dustin said...

"I was called for Jury duty on June 6th and I already had my postponements so I have to go.

Which is bullshit because they never let me sit on a jury."

It's your duty, not bullshit.

I do think the system would be much better if we put rejected or uncalled jury pool folks to work for a few days. I realize York is not saying he tries to get out of his duty, but a lot of people do.

Rialby said...

Texas has many of these.

TX County Courthouses

I like the Hays County courthouse myself in Georgetown, TX.

Rialby said...

Scratch that - Williamson County not Hays.

Mike said...

The Cotton Belt in Texas is a good place to go looking for courthouses. There was a cotton boom in the area from ~1910-1930. The local yeomanry spent money in a big way on monuments to local pride, aka "the county courthouse". There was a good bit of "mine is bigger and better than yours" in the courthouse building boom.

I've seen one county seat not far from Waco that had what looked like a 1/2 size replica of the US Capitol Building as the county courthouse.
There's a lovely Romanesque courthouse in Waxahachie maybe 40 miles south of Dallas.

Albatross said...

Bexar County's courthouse is very nice.

tom scott said...

I sat in the Monroe Square a couple of years ago. Had a great limburger, onion, mustard sandwich there. Live in Washington but have to go back every couple of years for cheese (Monroe, New Glarus) and sausage (Watertown, Rio). Born and raised in Belleville.
Google the Prescott Arizona courthouse photos. Really nice old courthouse and square.

chuck b. said...

20 m south of San Francisco, San Mateo County's old courthouse in Redwood City is a museum now. Being Californian, it's not very old, and the county is not small, but it was once, and "the 1910 courthouse features a stained glass dome and mosaic tile floor." I haven't seen the inside but I crossed the square in front of it a couple weeks ago. The courthouse/museum faces a restored Fox Theater. Images.

victoria said...

We have a city hall that is not to be believed.I dare you to find a city hall that is more beautiful.

Built in 1927, it is used on many television shows and movies as either the state capitol building or a courthouse.Just take a gander at the Pasadena City Hall.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pasadena_City_Hall


Vicki from Pasadena

campy said...

The former Henry Hobson Richardson courthouse in Hampden County, MA.

For contrast, the current one.

Trooper York said...

"It's your duty, not bullshit."

It's bullshit because they never put a big fat Irish guy who looks like a cop on the jury. Hey I want to put somebody away for twenty years. I mean if he didn't do what they accused him of he must of done something right?

Chase said...

Still wanting to make certain that everyone knows that Obama has Bold Instincts.

It was reported as a fact in today's New York Times. Obama is not just your average run of the mill never bold President.

You need to know this fact about Obama, people.

And, he used his Bold Instincts to run contrary to that Jewish advisor Dennis Ross, standing up for the Palestinians against the security and safety of those Jews in Israel, because he has Bold Instincts.


Why won't people give Obama his due? He is the first President to have Bold Instincts

It's a fact. I know because the article was not labeled even as "news analysis" which means it's a fact people.

And all of the liberals tell me that there is no bias in the New York Times, so that settles it.

Facts are facts.

EDH said...

Had trial once in the first floor courtroom of Norfolk County Courthouse, Dedham, Mass, a sleepy suburb where world attention was focused on the second trial of Italian anarchists Sacco and Vanzetti, later executed, during the "Red Scare" of the 1920s.

Later Sacco and Vanzetti both stood trial for murder in Dedham, Massachusetts for the South Braintree killings, with Webster Thayer again presiding. (Thayer had asked to be assigned the trial.) Well aware of the Galleanists' reputation for constructing dynamite bombs of extraordinary power, Massachusetts authorities took great pains to defend against a possible bombing attack. Workers outfitted the Dedham courtroom where the trial was to be held with cast-iron bomb shutters (painted to match the wooden ones fitted elsewhere in the building) and heavy, sliding steel doors that could protect that section of the courthouse from blast effect in the event of a bomb attack. Each day during the trial, Sacco and Vanzetti were escorted in and out of the courtroom under heavy armed guard.

The blast doors in the corridor are very heavy pocket doors that fit in the wall. Masterfully done. Would cost a fortune to install today.

All still there, in original working condition, very cool.

Almost Ali said...

Another adrenalin rush, another turkey shoot:

The SWAT officers fired 71 shots, striking Guerena 60 times.

Chase said...

I wonder if Michelle is aware that New York Times reporter Helene Cooper is sending signals to Barack that Helene wants to fellate him.

I wonder if even Michelle was aware that her husband is reported to have Bold Instincts?

chickenlittle said...

My parents met outside the courthouse in Richland Center.
No crime was involved. They were just courting.

oogaoogaooga said...

The courthouses in Grant County (Lancaster, WI) http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Grant_County_Courthouse_%28Wisconsin%29 and LaFayette County (Darlington, WI) http://www.flickr.com/photos/markheitman/5044469930/ are beautiful and in the middle of the town square. Well worth a visit! They are beautiful buildings inside and out.

chickenlittle said...

P.S. My original long form birth certificate is inside the Monroe courthouse.

David R. Graham said...

Washington County, MN, at Stillwater has a charmer.

Clallam County, WA has a looker, @ same style as that in your photo.

Of course there is Santa Barbara.

Chase said...

IF Barack and Michelle get divorced, they might go to a pretty courthouse (I like the ones in the picture at the top of the page).

If Barack and Helene Cooper then get married, I hope they use a pretty courthouse.

Chase said...

David,

I led a choir festival in the Santa Barbara Courthouse in December 2006, on a Sunday afternoon.

Awesome acoustics. Beautiful inside and out.

gail said...

Grant County courthouse in Lancaster, WI.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Grant_County_Courthouse_%28Wisconsin%29

Almost Ali said...

After the turkey shoot:

"A Tucson, Ariz., SWAT team defends shooting an Iraq War veteran 60 times during a drug raid, although it declines to say whether it found any drugs in the house and has had to retract its claim that the veteran shot first."

Vanessa Guerena yelled, "Don't shoot! I have a baby!"

"And the Pima County sheriff scolded the media for 'questioning the legality' of the shooting."

Douglas said...

Texas! Hill County courthouse in Hillsboro is probably the most famous, since it was restored from fire damage in the 90s.

This guy's the authority on all things capitol buildings. He must have an insane amount of airline miles.

edutcher said...

I would guess those like the one Ann showed are more hymns to the prosperity of post-Civil War industry (brick, instead of granite) or the boom in agriculture (i.e., the cattle business, etc.).

Chase said...

I wonder if Michelle is aware that New York Times reporter Helene Cooper is sending signals to Barack that Helene wants to fellate him.

I wonder if even Michelle was aware that her husband is reported to have Bold Instincts?


I wasn't aware bold was a synonym for idiotic.

AllenS said...

Here is the old Polk County, WI courthouse. It is now The Polk County Museum. The new courthouse looks like it was built by commies from Russia.

Chase said...

Hey, all the descriptive gibberish below the title "Althouse" above is missing.

Do you have to move things over a piece at a time to the new URL?

Chase said...

I wasn't aware bold was a synonym for idiotic

Helene Cooper of the New York Times isn't either.

I think she's speaking in "code" to her love interest "Shamack Shmobama" ^.

Shouting Thomas said...

This is from my home town, the Iroqouis County Courthouse.

When I drive from New York to my little Illinois home town, I usually pass by the Vigo County Courthouse in Terra Haute, Indiana. The entire town is organized around the courthouse. Of course, Terra Haute is famous for being the home of Indiana State University, where Larry Bird played his college ball after bailing out of Indiana University.


I always feel like I'm really back in the Midwest when I hit Terra Haute, which means, of course, high ground.

Since this is the Midwest, the ground ain't really that high. From my hometown, you can climb the water tower on a clear day, and you won't see a hill for 50 miles in any direction. It's very flat.

write_effort said...

I grew up in a small red-state town with a beautiful courthouse. Even as an elementary school student, I wondered how such a small town got such an impressive building. Architecture does make a difference.

Almost Ali said...

"In a frantic 911 call, Vanessa Guerena begged for medical help for her husband. "He's on the floor!" she said, crying, to the 911 operator. "Can you please hurry up?"

"Asked if law enforcement was inside or outside the house, she told the operator, according to a transcript of the call, that they were inside. "They were ... going to shoot me. And I put my kid in front of me."

A report by ABC News affiliate KGUN found that more than an hour had passed before the SWAT team let the paramedics work on Guerena. By then he was dead." Link

Chef Mojo said...

I love small cities like this, with a central square dominated by the county courthouse.

Charlottesville, Virginia fits that description perfectly with the Albemarle County Courthouse
. It sits on a large square, which was the center of the city at one time. The square is divided in half, with the courthouse on one half, and a lovely park on the other. In the center of the park is what is considered to be one of the finest equestrian statues in the nation; Stonewall Jackson upon his horse.

I'm fortunate that where I work is across the street from the park. Lovely on a day like today.

Alex said...

Wow.. the insane drug war claims more victims. When will we rise up and say NO MORE?

gail said...

Take a drive to Merrill, WI and get good picture of the Lincoln Co courthouse. My mom grew up in Merrill and when visiting the grandparents I fondly remember this courthouse, old churches, wood floors in stores...

http://www.wisconline.com/cgi-bin/countypics.pl?county=Lincoln

Deirdre Mundy said...

Most Indiana county seats have nice courthouses, even little podunk towns like Paoli.

The exception is Muncie. They kept tearing courthouses down to make uglier ones. Sort of a fitting metaphor for Muncie....

Almost Ali said...

Oh, okay, an "impartial judge" authorized the murder:

"In a statement, the sheriff's office criticized the media, saying that while questions will inevitably be raised, "It is unacceptable and irresponsible to couch those questions with implications of secrecy and a coverup, not to mention questioning the legality of actions that could not have been taken without the approval of an impartial judge." Link

dick said...

If you want courthouses in small cities, go to Ohio. There are 88 counties and I would bet that about 75 of them have a county seat with from 8-20K people and all of them have a city square with a courthouse as the centerpiece. Since in the late 1800's Ohio had a long string of presidents and leaders in the federal govt as well as a booming economy there are a lot of beautiful courthouses in the Richardson style. Most of them are absolutely gorgeous.

Irene said...

Sheriff Dupnik, in the news again.

Trooper York said...

When I am on jury duty I like to act like we are in the movies. But not “12 Angry Men” where some liberal douchenozzle gets a guilty guy off. I like a different movie.

Barabbas.

CRUCIFY HIM!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

PaulV said...

Old City hall in Richmond, VA had the courts in it. My great grandfather help build it. Minneapolis had similiar cith hall that was shown in opening of Mary Tyler Moore Show , but tore it down.

http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/thumb/d/d0/Richmond_City_Hall_%28Virginia%29.jpg/250px-Richmond_City_Hall_%28Virginia%29.jpg

Almost Ali said...

Wow.. the insane drug war claims more victims. When will we rise up and say NO MORE?

When Guerena's Marine unit exacts revenge.

bagoh20 said...

The courthouse of my hometown and county seat:

Butler. PA

I was born right behind the courthouse in a dilapidated, rat infested, rental that was condemned and demolished soon after. I leave a trail of devastation and broken dreams in my wake to this very day.


The city population is the same as when I left in in 1981: 15,000. Great countryside very similar to Madison and also on the terminal moraine of the great North American glaciers of the last ice age. Your photos always remind me of home.

bagoh20 said...

Oh yea, my hometown also has the distinction of being known as "The heroin capital of the U.S.A."

Woohoo!

David R. Graham said...

A picture of the Santa Barbara Courthouse.

Together with Victoria's Spanish Rococo-styled Pasadena City Hall (which I should have remembered for living near and seeing it often fifty + years ago), the SB Courthouse illustrates one aspect of why we used to call CA "the land of milk and honey." It truly was.

In Northern CA, however, north of SF, is another style of county courthouse and also private residences. I used to hear it called Victorian but I'm not sure that is accurate.

The Norman covering on one wing of the courthouse in Ann's picture is delightful. It's a pretty building for sure. Eclectic. American, Charming. As others have pointed out, counties across the country have produced these pleasantries, at least in the past. They came before the smack down accepted from socialists' ambitions. Well, the nation's still up to it as long as the younger generations, such as Ann's, appreciate and practice from spirit, aren't really smacked down, be who they really are.

David R. Graham said...

Pasadena City Hall

chickenlittle said...

I, for one, would enjoy hearing what exactly gives that red brick its redness.

Kevin said...

Ann, I've been a lurker here, but as a professional photographer who specializes in images of public architecture, primarily state capitols and county courthouses, I thought it was a good time to finally chime in with the opportunity to engage in some shameless self-promotion.

In addition to photographing all 50 state capitols, I've photographed several hundred county courthouses from around the country. (Sadly, none in Wisconsin, though I'm working on it.) I'm unaware of any other professional photographer who has photographed as many. You can take a look at my work on Flickr, where I mirror my website, at:

http://www.flickr.com/photos/capitolshotsphotography/collections/72157608456380158/

My favorite in the country is probably the old Denton County Courthouse in Texas, but, being a Texan, I'm probably biased.

Keep up the good work here: now one of my favorite sites to visit.

Capitolshots Photography
facebook.com/capitolshotsphotography

Julie C said...

Hanford California has a beautiful central square with the county seat, a library, a cool old-time ice cream parlor etc. Lots of beautiful trees to shade you from the hot central valley sun. I went there once with my parents (my dad had business nearby) and I felt like I had traveled back in time. Went there years later with my husband and it hadn't changed much at all!

(There are pictures of the courthouse on Wikipedia but I don't know how to do links.)

Trooper York said...

Rubbing without baby oil.

Oh wait. You said brick?

Nevermind.

bagoh20 said...

Love this character on a bank building in my hometown. Seems fitting for a bank:

bank target market

Issob Morocco said...

Did you find any Kloppenburg votes?

Will Cate said...

In the county where I was born, Lawrence County, Arkansas, in the former county seat of Powhattan, still stands this old county courthouse:

http://pilgrimage.us/ArkKyInd/PowhatanCourthouse.jpg

... which is now a state park. Inside is the gallows used for the last hanging-execution which took place in Arkansas, in the early 1900's.

Freeman Hunt said...

Bentonville, Arkansas is like that.

Issob Morocco said...

This might be circumspect but I am feeling my oats today.

www.visitcourthousesquare.org

My pa pa spent a night in jail here back during the 40's.

edutcher said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Freeman Hunt said...

Bentonville has grown a lot. My family moved there in 1987. It's more than tripled in size since then.

edutcher said...

Alex said...

Wow.. the insane drug war claims more victims. When will we rise up and say NO MORE?

It's not the drug war, it's cops that think they're SEAL Team 6 coming to take out bin Laden.

I don't doubt they're afraid to have their picture taken.

Almost Ali said...

I think the old comments have returned.

Yes, they have.

And only a week late.

Good thing Ann wasn't running a business dependent on that material.

Or paying for the service.

PWS said...

It's a hike, but Iron County Michigan's courthouse in the UP is tremendous.

I appeared there once; they've restored much of the inside to its original design. It was like stepping into a Norman Rockwell painting.

http://www.iron.org/gov-courthouse.php

Michael K said...

Lebanon, New Hampshire. It hasn't changed since 1910.

mrs whatsit said...

Here's my favorite, in Norwich, New York, not too far from where I live. The courthouse was constructed of local stone in 1837 and has changed very little since then. It's small but lovely, with a beautiful courtroom occupying almost all of the second story. See Lady Justice on top of the dome? She's actually a replica -- the hand-carved original stands inside the courthouse, protected by a glass case.

Across the street from the park where the courthouse stands is another park of the same dimensions with this bandstand in it. Here's what the New York Times thinks of Norwich. I'm sorry to see that the picture that ran originally with the article is gone -- it showed a tractor pulling a hay wagon up the city's main street, right through the middle of the business district. However, nobody who lives here has ever seen such a thing actually occur; we think the NYT must have hired a farmer to pose the shot. (NEVER trust the NYT!)

d-day said...

I love the courthouse in Prescott, Arizona - the Yavapai County Superior Court. It has a central square with a courthouse, and across the street is "Whiskey Row." They go all out to decorate at Christmas time.

My little girl thinks the courthouse is a castle.

chickenlittle said...

Rubric

ironrailsironweights said...

Litchfield, Connecticut has a small but very attractive courthouse. Technically speaking it is not a county courthouse but instead serves the Litchfield Judicial District.

Peter

Saul said...

The Monroe.County Courthouse is no longer used for trials.

Scipio said...

Every small town in Mississippi. My favorite is probably the Simpson County Courthouse in Mendenhall, MS, simply because it dwarfs all other buildings in town.

The Perry County Courthouse in New Augusta, MS, is nice, as well. A huge resto effort in the previous decade.

Trooper York said...

Here is a photo of ironrailsironweights at his house.

ironrailsironweights said...

Here is a photo of ironrailsironweights at his house.

Delicious!

Peter

Trooper York said...

Here is a photo of Garage Mahal's house.

dingoatemebaby said...

The cornucopia of county courthouses is clearly Kansas.
http://www.wichitaphotos.org/graphics/wpl_wpl1975.jpg

Trooper York said...

Here is a photo of Robert Cook's summer home in Saigon.

Trooper York said...

Here is a photo of hdhouse's house

John Burgess said...

Here's my courthouse. And its new addition.

Different climate, different architecture(s).

WV: housnes of justice!

E.M. Davis said...

Delaware (Ohio) County Courthouse


WV: reade -- What Meade does to a book?

Jay Vogt said...

Love old, small-town courthouses as well. Here's ours;

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:Dallas_County_Courthouse.jpg

I like it a lot, however we got absolutely fleeced on the renovation.

Trooper York said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
E.M. Davis said...

Mercer County (PA) Court House -- where I grew up.

Indigo Red said...

View from Old Town Auburn:
Placer County Courthouse, Auburn, CA

Closer view:
Placer County Courthouse, Auburn, CA

Trooper York said...

Here is a photo of Jay Retread making a delivery to Meadehouse

Trooper York said...

Here is a photo of Trooper York's house.

Alan said...

A fictional one: The Childerstown courthouse in Cozzens' "The Just and the Unjust." Best legal novel ever, and quite a building ,too.

Indigo Red said...

Very beautiful old county courthouses shown here. Sure don't make them the way they used to. The new structures are certainly functional, but lack character and without signage, it's near impossible to know what they are.

David said...

Lovely courthouse.

Too bad about the parking plaza.

George said...

"Take a drive to Merrill, WI and get good picture of the Lincoln Co courthouse. My mom grew up in Merrill and when visiting the grandparents I fondly remember this courthouse, old churches, wood floors in stores..."

Merrill also has the last decent grocery store on the way to my lake home in Hazelhurst. Close enough that the beer stays cold. It's a Piggly Wiggly, and beautiful in its own way.

ndspinelli said...

The courthouse you pictured is in my top 5. I've been to @ least 75-100 courthouses in 3 time zones over my career..about the same # of jails/prisons. Wi. has some classic ones which have been mentioned. However, #1 on my list is the Kane County Courthouse in Geneva, Illinois. The worst..the Federal Courthouse in Madison, hands down.

Beldar said...

Texas is famously full of wonderful old county courthouses, many dating back to the 19th Century.

But the brand-new Harris County Civil Courthouse in Houston is the best-designed, best-executed, and most functional modern public building I've seen.

Civil district judges were deeply involved in its planning, which helped ensure that functionality.

It is elegant and awe-inspiring without being gaudy or extravagant. The elegance and forethought appears in public areas, not just the judges' immediate environs, so that it may be shared and appreciated by everyone who uses the courthouse, whether daily or once in a blue moon. The net effect is to convey the solemnity and grandeur and importance of the Rule of Law. It's egalitarian and cost-effective grandeur, if you will.

Its neighboring structures -- including an almost-new criminal courthouse -- are woeful examples by comparison.

Beldar said...

The federal courthouse in Houston, by contrast, is a ghastly reflection, in concrete and steel, of the worst of the early Kennedy era. With its tiny, miserly windows (easy to barricade) and its stark cubic shape, it looks buttoned up for another Cuban Missile Crisis. It's adequate, but it makes no one's soul sing even a note.

Penny said...

"chickenlittle said...

Rubric"

A rubric con?

eluc455 said...

Check out Luzerne County, Pennslyvania Courthouse. It is beautiful and has magnificent paintings in each courtroom.

http://www.luzernecounty.org/county/courthouse_tour_online

Harrington said...

The Houghton County courthouse in Houghton, Michigan is quite unusual. It reminds one of the old house in "Psycho". The Keewenaw courthouse in Eagle River, Michigan still has, (I believe), spittoons. The old jail is next door and at one time the sherriff's wife would bring a prisoner out and show him her collection of deer pictures, all 5,000 plus of them. Hardened multiple offenders were known to beg to be returned to their cells.

Roger J. said...

Professor--has Beldar has noted, you really need to get in your overpriced sports car and tour the american south--most rural counties have a courhouse on the square--and, of course, a monument to confederate veterans killed in the war for southern independence.

(joke)--but the memorials are there

It seems to me professor, you are quite provincial in not knowing what the rest of the country looks like--up your game sweetie--there's a whole country out there about which you do not know.

Chas S. Clifton said...

I saw that and immediately thought of the Bent County Courthouse in Las Animas, Colorado. This link should go to it. Otherwise, Google it.

Sixty Grit said...

Boone County West-by-God Virginia. Thar's a courthouse for ya.

Or, of course, Orange County North Carolina - much more traditional. Peaceful. No coal trains.

Pastafarian said...

Althouse, you'd like the courthouse in Bryan, Ohio:

http://www.flickr.com/photos/martinlabar/2982752784/

If you ever decide to visit, email me. I'll take the two of you to Seasons Cafe' right there on the square. It's in the northwest corner of the state, so it's not too far from you. (Well, it's a 6 hour drive; but if you're ever in the area anyway...)

garage mahal said...

One the more homely Courthouses in America here in Oneida County. Certainly a homeliest dome contender.

Been in and out of there a few times.

Pastafarian said...

Here are some photos that show some of the lights they string up at Christmas -- this really doesn't do it justice, but it gives you an idea:

http://www.city-data.com/picfilesc/picc41377.php

http://farm1.static.flickr.com/156/349606425_46fb6867aa_z.jpg

Chip Ahoy said...

Denver county courthouse at Christmas.The no-fun separationists are trying to make them to stop it. This is two blocks from my home.

HoTouPragmatosKurios said...

The journal of the Missouri Bar Association has for years featured a photograph of a county courthouse on the cover of its monthly journal. If St. Louis or Jackson Counties' (Kansas City's) courthouses have appeared among them, I forgot them immediately. The rest always arrest my attention and make me think what a great town THAT must be situated in.

Pastafarian said...

Yeesh, Chip. That looks like Caesar's Palace in Vegas. Does the Clerk of Courts walk around in a sequined g-string and 6-inch heels?

Lyle said...

I clerked at the Parish courthouse in East Feliciana, LA. It's the oldest remaining courthouse in Louisiana; built in the 1830s. The modern film Dukes of Hazard was filmed there.

There is also the famous "Lawyers Row" of antebellum lawyers' offices across the street.

Courtroom is on the second floor. First floor are the DA's offices.

http://ookaboo.com/o/pictures/picture/21544400/East_Feliciana_Courthouse_in_Clinton

Donald Douglas said...

You'd love the Santa Barbara County Courthouse.

Synova said...

Crosby, North Dakota is that way, too. It's got a county courthouse and village square.

I think that it's probably a remnant of the same thing that makes so much of the mid-west consist of roads that go east/west, north/south, and intersect at exactly 1 mile increments. The land was measured out during the homesteading phase before anyone actually lived on it. So you've got the township hall out in the middle of nowhere, a one room government building that might or might not have a bell tower, and it sits on the plot of land the plotters set aside for it. I voted for the first time at one of these, though I think that there aren't so many of them left. And the county courthouse is located and constructed before there are many people, so it gets a sort of pretentious square and some columns. People were thinking big, but starting from scratch. School houses were often not attached to a village either, just out on the plot of land set aside during homesteading for the mandatory school.

Mark said...

Baraboo, Sauk County - a short drive up Hwy 12 from Madison - has a great century old courthouse in the middle of a downtown square. The downtown has remained fairly vibrant, too.

Beldar said...

@ Roger J: Travel is broadening for everyone, but I know our host's travels include much contact with Texas (although mostly, I think, with Austin, which is a wonderful place but an awful lot like Madison in many respects I suspect, some of which are also limiting).

In general (I'm not directing this at Prof. A in particular), it might be a good idea of law profs to not just tour courthouses for their architectural interest, but to step inside one occasionally for professional interest too.

Beldar said...

An era was ending, I think, when I first began practicing in Houston in 1981 at Baker Botts. Historically its lawyers, and those from other big firms in Houston or Dallas, would ride the railroads and highways as Lincoln once road horseback on backroads to the circuit courts of Illinois. By the time I began, we still represented some of those same clients state-wide, and I was regularly sent to some distant Texas county I'd never visited, with no Google map or GPS. Rather, we relied upon -- and were almost inevitably correct in -- the assumption that the county courthouse would be the tallest building, in the center of even the smallest town, with a flag out front or on top. (If it was a remote outpost of a federal court, we'd look for the post office, also with a flag but generally newer, more squalid, and not as tall.)

ironrailsironweights said...

A federal courthouse not far from me is an ultra-modern design, but not at all unattractive. It may not have the charm of these old county courthouses, but it avoids the concrete-bomb-bunker look of too many contemporary ones.

Peter

ndspinelli said...

eloc455,

The Luzerne County Courthouse is just 3 blocks from my freshman year dorm. And, it was my freshman year in college that the Mary Jo Kopechne inquest was held @ that courthouse. Big doings for Wilkes-Barre, Pa. Bo Ryan went to school just a mile south of that courthouse.

Big Mike said...

@ironrails, I've seldom so much ugliness in one building at one time.

Trooper York said...

Here is one of the most famous cathouses in America.

Trooper York said...

Wait a minute....we were talking about courthouses....sorry....nevermind.

A. Shmendrik said...

Ya, you musta drank lunch at Baumgartner's. Ya.

jason stimpel said...

I second d-day's Prescott, Arizona Yavapai County courthouse.

We did the earth-grading for the new runway and taxiways at Embry Riddle Airport back in '91.

On Friday nights, the old-timers would bring a record player and speakers to the courthouse square and dance to old waltz music.

Saturday afternoon, you could join a hacky sack circle under the shade trees.

Placer County courthouse in Auburn, California is a nice one.

Tuolumne County courthouse in Sonora, California.

On the other end of the spectrum, there's Frank Lloyd Wright's Marin County Civic Center. which houses Marin County Superior Court.

Parts of Peter Frampton's "Frampton Comes Alive!" were recorded there. So smooth.

Rick Lee said...

Here in West Virginia, most of the county courthouses are glorious Victorian structures... which are falling apart and surrounded by empty storefronts. It's just so sad. The buildings point to a more prosperous time... a hundred years in the past.

HKatz said...

The building reminds me of the Jefferson Market Branch of the New York Public Library. That branch actually used to be a courthouse.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Jefferson_Market_Library

I was there a couple of years ago, and it was a lovely library.

Palladian said...

"I, for one, would enjoy hearing what exactly gives that red brick its redness."

The color of bricks is due to a lot of different variables, such as what the bricks are made of, the temperature and atmosphere of the kiln in which they're fired. Depending on the mineral/chemical composition of the raw materials, bricks can "burn" a variety of colors. Since most bricks are made of a combination of sand, clay, lime, iron oxide (rust) and sometimes a percentage of magnesium oxide (the stuff "Milk of Magnesia" is made from), they tend mostly fall within a narrow range of colors and are usually a red color because most "mud" bricks have a higher percentage of iron oxide than other colorants. Kiln temperature has a lot to do with the color as well; the higher the temperature, the deeper the red, and past a certain temperature, "red" bricks burn purple, dark brown and finally either a lighter brown or grey when they reach 2300°F.

Why do I know all this? For several reasons: I have made bricks before (for a sculpture project), I've done pottery and I study and teach about art pigment materials.

Ann Althouse said...

Re the color... there was power-washing equipment at the site. The old brick was super clean.

Palladian said...

And I must add that the bricks I made did not burn red enough (I wanted them to be bright, clear, "fire engine" red) so I ended up firing them again with a bright red pottery glaze, which was fine for a sculpture but an extremely expensive proposition if you're producing bricks for building.

Ann Althouse said...

When I did masonry work on my house years ago, we couldn't match the brick, which had a blackened look to it. They don't make brick like that anymore, my mason told me.

Titus said...

Many of the pics of the courthouses get me a little hard.

They have large, pointy "tips" which remind me of large pointy tits.

chickenlittle said...

When I did masonry work on my house years ago, we couldn't match the brick, which had a blackened look to it. They don't make brick like that anymore, my mason told me.

I wonder if that was from an unmatchable manganese content.

chickenlittle said...

Thanks for the lesson Palladian!

Justin said...

Monroe County, this one in Bloomington, Indiana (the home of Indiana University) features its courthouse in the middle of the town. It's particularly beautiful around Christmas: http://healthycollegeliving.files.wordpress.com/2011/02/803740352_9a1c65845d.jpg

Gary said...

Walton County Courthouse, in Monroe, Georgia. Beautiful Second Empire style, built in 1884, with a nice Confederate Dead memorial.

Palladian said...

"Thanks for the lesson Palladian!"

Wait a minute! I forgot, you're a chemist! Why the hell are you thanking a liberal arts major for blundering through something like that?? ;)

Peter Hoh said...

The fictional town of Freehaven, Indiana, has a central square county courthouse, if I recall correctly.

Judy said...

@Shouting Thomas -I grew up in Terre Haute. The town is not built around the courthouse. There isn't even a square there.

Now Rockville, IN north of Terre Haute in Parke County has a very nice courthouse square. http://farm4.static.flickr.com/3094/2781444002_a7dbf80d63_z.jpg

chickenlittle said...

Why the hell are you thanking a liberal arts major for blundering through something like that??

Maybe because I think you put things well? You're an experienced teacher. I am not and thus have much to learn.

Palladian said...

Thank you, chicken! It's much more difficult when I'm talking about perfumery and someone asks me what an aldehyde is, or why materials with "ethyl" as part of their name tend to smell like fruit, or if "nitromusks" are explosive...

I once met a perfumery/flavoring chemist who could draw the molecule, from memory, of any perfumery material you named. Strangely enough, few perfumers themselves know anything about chemistry.

Palladian said...

Including me.

Graham Powell said...

My mother's hometown of Lockhart, Texas, has a very nice courthouse, one which I believe was on the cover of a coffee table book on Texas courthouses:

Caldwell County Courthouse

R.L. Hunter said...

Here in New England we have the same style brick courthouses too. This is the I grew up near.

Lamoille County Courthouse Hyde Park Vermont.

DADvocate said...

West Union, OH (Adams Co.), Flemingsburg, KY (Fleming Co.), Carlisle, KY (Nicholas Co.), Paris, KY (Bourbon Co.).

I love the old central square with courthouse too. Years ago when I drove through Alabama and Mississippi to New Orleans, I saw a lot of them.

Yes, Bourbon Co., KY is the origin of the name for Bourbon whiskey. Ironically, no bourbon is made in Bourbon Co. at this time.

DADvocate said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
DADvocate said...

Oh, yeah, Georgetown, OH (Brown Co.), the county in which I live.

Slayer said...

Indiana's courthouses:

http://indianacourthouses.com/

http://libx.bsu.edu/cdm4/collection.php?CISOROOT=/DHWCourt

http://www.in.gov/mylocal/mylocal_map.html

http://www.myjanee.com/photoalbum/counties/courthouses.htm

http://www.agecon.purdue.edu/crd/localgov/second%20level%20pages/courthouse_thumbs.htm

Phil 3:14 said...

Where Barry Goldwater announced his candidacy for President

Old Patriot said...

I have a photo somewhere of the courthouse in Weatherford, Texas. It's quite colorful, made of varying colors of marble set in bands around the outside. It's definitely worth a visit if you're in the area. Long way from Wisconsin, but hey, the trip will be an "adventure".

ken in sc said...

I see other people have mentioned Texas already. Here's my two cents worth anyway. Central Texas has many beautiful old courthouses. Some towns are so small that almost the only thing there is the courthouse. In the really flat areas, you can see the next town and courthouse about 30 miles away. I used to live in New Augusta,Perry County MS. They do have a nice courthouse and it is also almost the only thing there. We lived on main street and we didn't even have an address. I used the number on our water meter as our street address on forms. The meter reader was also the town mayor.

E.M. Davis said...

Hill Valley has a nice, somewhat modest court house on the town square.

Shame about the clock, though.