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Wapello County Courthouse

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1892–1893, Foster and Liebbe. Northwest corner of 4th and Court streets

The construction of courthouse buildings in Ottumwa followed the usual course within the state: the initial use of a log cabin, then construction of a two-story frame building, next the building of a brick courthouse (in 1855, in this case), and eventually the erection of the present building (1892–1893). In plan the building is basically a square, with pavilions projecting slightly on each side. A square corner tower originally dominated the building, but with the removal of this tower and its clock faces in 1950 the statue of Chief Wapello on the apex of the front gable became the most eye-catching feature of the structure. The building is sheathed in roughcut sandstone blocks, the heaviness of its masonry enhanced by the apron treatment of stone at its base.

Writing Credits

David Gebhard and Gerald Mansheim


What's Nearby


David Gebhard and Gerald Mansheim, "Wapello County Courthouse", [Ottumwa, 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, 335-335.

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