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Davis County Courthouse

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1877–1878, Thomas J. Tolan and Son. Courthouse Square, corner of Washington (US 63) and Franklin streets
  • Davis County Courthouse (David Gebhard and Gerald Mansheim)
  • Davis County Courthouse (Richard W. Longstreth)
  • Davis County Courthouse (Richard W. Longstreth)
  • Davis County Courthouse (Richard W. Longstreth)
  • Davis County Courthouse (Richard W. Longstreth)
  • Davis County Courthouse (Richard W. Longstreth)
  • Davis County Courthouse (Richard W. Longstreth)

When Bloomfield was selected as the county seat, a two-story structure of hewn logs was built. It continued to be used as a courthouse up through 1851, when it was sold and moved to a rural location to be used as a farm residence. Temporary quarters for court business were then secured in several commercial buildings until the present courthouse was finally designed and built under the supervision of its architects, Thomas J. Tolan and Son of Fort Wayne, Indiana. This was another of the several Midwestern firms actively involved in the design of county courthouses in Indiana, Ohio, Illinois, and Iowa. Among courthouses built across the country, Bloomfield's is unquestionably one of the most impressive ever realized in the French Second Empire style. There are many other courthouses in this style that are much larger and more opulent, but very few equal the sense of competence and delight conveyed by this cruciform building. Upward-thrusting verticality is the theme of its design. The detailing of the building, its quoining, and the window pediments are sharp and angular, playing off the plain stone walls. The high central tower with its spirelike truncated roof contains four semi-circular dormers, each exhibiting a large clock face. The courthouse was restored in 1978, and is now the center of the Bloomfield Historic District. The courthouse is listed on the National Register of Historic Places.

Writing Credits

David Gebhard and Gerald Mansheim


What's Nearby


David Gebhard and Gerald Mansheim, "Davis County Courthouse", [Bloomfield, 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, 313-314.

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