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Muscatine County Courthouse

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1909–1910, Joseph E. Mills and Sons. 401 East 3rd St.

Joseph E. Mills and Sons of Detroit provided the city with two Beaux-Arts public buildings: the county courthouse and the city hall. The limestone-sheathed courthouse conveys more of a late nineteenth-century version of the classical tradition rather than that of the twentieth century. The volumes of the building read vertically, as does the fenestration; there is little in the way of solid walls to play against the opening. The central open tower complex, topped by a clock dome with dormers, also projects a pre-1900 atmosphere. The strongest purely classical element is the pedimented entrance, supported by two pairs of Corinthian columns. The 1909–1910 courthouse replaced a remarkable 1867 building that centered attention on a high drum, a hatlike dome, and, high atop the dome, a standing figure.

On the courthouse grounds is an 1875 stone Civil War memorial consisting of a soldier atop a column which in turn is set on a high base. Interestingly, the top of the base has four pediments with semi-circular dormers remarkably similar to the dome of the courthouse, built some 35 years later.

Writing Credits

Author: 
David Gebhard and Gerald Mansheim
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Citation

David Gebhard and Gerald Mansheim, "Muscatine County Courthouse", [Muscatine, Iowa], SAH Archipedia, eds. Gabrielle Esperdy and Karen Kingsley, Charlottesville: UVaP, 2012—, http://sah-archipedia.org/buildings/IA-01-ME338.

Print Source

Buildings of Iowa, David Gebhard and Gerald Mansheim. New York: Oxford University Press, 1993, 136-136.

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