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Johnson County Courthouse

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1899–1900, Rush, Bowman and Company. Southwest corner of S. Clinton and Court streets

Iowa City was designated as the location for the Johnson County seat in 1840. The first of the three courthouses in Iowa City was erected during the years 1842–1848. It was a two-story stone building, mildly Greek Revival in its design (built by James Tremble). In 1856, this many-chimneyed building burned to the ground, and it was replaced by a vigorous, unusual Gothic Revival building in 1859. The third and present courthouse built in Iowa City, designed by the Grand Rapids, Michigan, firm of Rush, Bowman and Company, was started in 1899 and finished one year later. The style selected was that of the Richardsonian Romanesque, somewhat calmed by references to the Ecole des Beaux-Arts. The large Richardsonian arched entrance is contained on each side by matching bay towers, while the rows of large, tall windows do open battle with the heavy rusticated masonry of the building. The courthouse's most picturesque element is its tall central tower, projecting turrets at each corner, and tall wall dormers that project into the steeply pitched hipped roof.

Writing Credits

David Gebhard and Gerald Mansheim

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