You are here

Marshall County Courthouse

-A A +A
1884–1886, John C. Cochrane. Southeast corner of E. Main St. and Center St. S.

Since its completion, the 175-foot-high tower of this early Beaux-Arts building has dominated the community. The 1884–1886 courthouse building was the third one to be built within the county. The first was a small wood structure built in 1851 in Marietta. When the county offices were moved to Marshalltown, a second, two-story brick courthouse was built, in 1857–1858. John C. Cochrane, who designed the third building, was responsible not only for the initial plans for the Illinois State Capitol (1867–1883), but for a number of courthouses in Illinois and Indiana. Stylistically the Marshall County Courthouse was an advanced design for the mid-1880s, anticipating the surge of interest in the Beaux-Arts Classical tradition which developed in the 1890s. The scheme of the building is that of a central rotunda that reaches upward to a dome contained within the base of a central tower. The high tower is open on its lower level, above which are four clock faces and then a segmented dome and tall, thin lantern. During the 1950s and 1960s various proposals were made to replace the existing courthouse with a new building, but these proposals were rejected by county voters. In 1974 funds were voted by the residents of Marshall County to restore and update the building, a project carried out by the Des Moines firm of Wagner, Marquart and Wetherell.

Writing Credits

David Gebhard and Gerald Mansheim


What's Nearby


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

If SAH Archipedia has been useful to you, please consider supporting it.

SAH Archipedia tells the story of the United States through its buildings, landscapes, and cities. This freely available resource empowers the public with authoritative knowledge that deepens their understanding and appreciation of the built environment. But the Society of Architectural Historians, which created SAH Archipedia with University of Virginia Press, needs your support to maintain the high-caliber research, writing, photography, cartography, editing, design, and programming that make SAH Archipedia a trusted online resource available to all who value the history of place, heritage tourism, and learning.