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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

David Gebhard and Gerald Mansheim


What's Nearby


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

Print Source

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

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