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Winneshiek County Courthouse

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1903–1905, Kinney and Detweiler. South side of Main St. between Court and Winnebago streets

The presence of the courthouse in Decorah is underscored by its being sited in an open city block that slopes steeply to the south. The building was designed by the Minneapolis firm of Kinney and Detweiler, who came close to cornering the market on courthouse design in Minnesota and northern Iowa in the two decades after 1900. Their designs were general Beaux-Arts, as is the case with the Winneshiek County Courthouse. The building settles into its site on a dark-red sandstone base and terminates above in an elaborate square open tower with four pediments boasting clock faces. Surmounting all of this is a tall circular drum covered by a domed roof and lantern. The principal axial entrance from the south is lined by cast-iron light standards; the walk itself is broken by three sets of wide stairs. As is so often encountered on the grounds of Iowa courthouses, a miniature Statue of Liberty is mounted high on its own stone base.

Writing Credits

David Gebhard and Gerald Mansheim


What's Nearby


David Gebhard and Gerald Mansheim, "Winneshiek County Courthouse", [Decorah, 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, 375-375.

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