The first courthouse (Italianate in design), its wonderful tall, square cupola surmounted by a segmented dome, was built in 1856–1857 and was destroyed by fire in 1872. The second courthouse, Italian Renaissance in style, followed in 1874. This burned in 1922. The Waterloo architect John G. Ralston in 1923–1924 provided the city and county with a traditional well-detailed Beaux-Arts building in gray Bedford limestone and granite. At its dedication, it was described as rising “majestically from a base of granite, the whole scheme of architecture being classical and grand.” 24
Its two-story composition includes engaged piers and columns on a raised base; on the roof parapets there are four clock faces, one
Herman J. Doscher, et al., eds., History of West Union, Iowa (West Union: Private printing, 1974), 40.