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Marion County Courthouse

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1896, Mifflin E. Bell. Courthouse Square, northeast corner of Robinson and 2nd streets

The first courthouse was a wood frame two-story building erected during 1846–1848. The second Marion County Courthouse was designed by D. H. Young and was built in 1858. That courthouse was one of Iowa's outstanding examples of the Greek Revival mode. All of the walls of that two-story brick building were articulated with wide pilasters reaching from the ground to the entablature. The recessed entrance exhibited small pilasters and Doric columns. At the center of the gable roof was an open square tower. By 1895 this second courthouse was considered to be structurally unsafe, and the following year it was replaced by the present building.

The architect Mifflin E. Bell of Chicago selected the popular Richardsonian Romanesque for the third courthouse. The structure is three stories tall, plus an attic. The central tower, with arched openings for the bells and the heavy round corner buttress of its base, is a particularly strong example of the style. The architectural treatment of the body of the building and its roof carries one over just a bit into the French Châteauesque style. Some restoration of the building took place in 1968.

Writing Credits

David Gebhard and Gerald Mansheim


What's Nearby


David Gebhard and Gerald Mansheim, "Marion County Courthouse", [Knoxville, Iowa], SAH Archipedia, eds. Gabrielle Esperdy and Karen Kingsley, Charlottesville: UVaP, 2012—,

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