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Des Moines County Courthouse

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1939, Keffer and Jones. Southwest corner of Court and Main streets

This PWA Moderne design is a little on the grim, dry side. The central four-story section projects out just slightly from the two sides. A characteristic composition of the wall surface is created with four recessed vertical panels, each containing soffits and windows. There is relief decoration within the spandrels separating the second level from the third and fourth floors. Below the second-floor windows are spandrels with circular shieldlike devices that are more geometric than classical. The corners of the building are carved and treated with cut vertical lines suggesting fluting or the rounded corner of a 1930s refrigerator. The parapet of the central pavilion contains an abstract rendering of dentils, minus any cornice.

Writing Credits

David Gebhard and Gerald Mansheim


What's Nearby


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

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