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Adams County Courthouse

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1858, Stephen D. Button; 1979–1983 restored, Edward Parnum. W. Middle and Baltimore sts.
  • Adams County Courthouse (Photograph by Mark Mones)
  • Adams County Courthouse (Photograph by Mark Mones)
  • Adams County Courthouse (Photograph by Mark Mones)

Like York in the previous decade, the Adams County Courthouse was removed from the town square to a peripheral location where it had the potential to expand if necessary. The commission went not to a local architect but to Philadelphia architect Button, who had returned to Pennsylvania having won the competition for the state capitol in Montgomery, Alabama, and was then working for the Pennsylvania Railroad. That work brought him to Harrisburg and on to Chambersburg and York, where he designed several notable churches. For Adams County, Button broke no new ground, designing a slightly up-to-date brick version of the courthouse type that had flourished in Pennsylvania for more than a generation. Here he crossed the proportions of the classical revivals of the early nineteenth century with details from the rising Italianate and Victorian fashions. Brick piers replaced freestanding columns even as the proportions recalled the old Federal forms of Button's youth. The most notable feature may be the Baroque flourish of the gingerbread crown that caps the tower.

Writing Credits

George E. Thomas

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