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Wright County Courthouse

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1891, William R. Parsons and Son. Northeast corner of Main St. and Central Ave.

The Des Moines firm selected to design this building produced other courthouses in Illinois, Missouri, and Iowa. The architect selected the appropriate image of that moment, the Richardsonian Romanesque, but the design seems to waver between public monumentality and domesticity. The situation of the building on courthouse square, and features such as the seven-story corner tower, effectively proclaim its public nature. In contrast, the long, low-pitched gable filled in with semi-circular windows, and the scale and placement of the other windows and the door are what one would expect to encounter in a large private residence. In 1974 the building was extensively remodeled and it regrettably lost some of its most telling elements, though its essential external character remains intact.

Writing Credits

David Gebhard and Gerald Mansheim


What's Nearby


David Gebhard and Gerald Mansheim, "Wright County Courthouse", [Clarion, 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, 367-367.

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