At night, this courthouse’s illuminated lantern dome casts a greenish beacon, drawing the eye along Davenport Street, Rhinelander’s primary commercial artery, to its visual terminus. Tegen, who previously designed the Beaux-Arts classical Manitowoc County Courthouse (MN1), employed the same style here. This gray limestone building has a ground floor marked by semicircular arches above which an Ionic colonnade rises two stories. Ornamentation is restrained, but the convex octagonal dome, formed by small panes of stained glass, almost transforms the building into a pedestal for it. A modern brick addition on the east does not significantly detract from the beauty of the original. Inside, the rotunda offers a spectacular space. The classical orders of columns, pilasters, and piers change from one floor to the next, from Doric to Ionic and Corinthian. Light passing through the dome’s yellow and green floral-patterned stained glass colors the third level. Two murals (1919) by Swiss-born Franz Bieberstein enhance this polychromy. One depicts a lumberman on a logroll, and the other portrays three Indians drying and stretching skins before their tipis. The latter is historically inaccurate because Wisconsin’s Native Americans lived in wigwams fashioned from bent saplings.
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Oneida County Courthouse
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