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Hardin County Courthouse

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1891–1892, T. Dudley Allen. Southeast corner Iowa 175 and Iowa 215

Though the principal public entrance to the present, and third, Hardin County Courthouse is correct Richardsonian Romanesque, the building as a whole is something else. Perhaps the closest historical precedent would be the brick and stone-trimmed buildings of Holland and Flanders of the 15th and 16th centuries. The most striking aspect of the design is the manner in which the architect surrounded the windows with a strongly contrasting stone and then treated the windows as a series of bands by tying their headers and sills together. Other contrasting, coloristic effects are the checkerboard pattern surrounding the great entrance arch, the many bands on the upper parts of the building and its tower, and the raised foundation of limestone ashlar block. On the third level of the five-story entrance tower is a large niche which accommodates a sculptural group of three figures. The good size of the building, together with its high tower and the raised elevation of its site, means that the courthouse can be seen for miles around.

In 1969–1970 the courthouse was restored and remodeled by Donald McKeown, and in 1971 a “Pioneer Plaza” was created around the building.

Writing Credits

David Gebhard and Gerald Mansheim


What's Nearby


David Gebhard and Gerald Mansheim, "Hardin County Courthouse", [Eldora, 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, 381-381.

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