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Sheboygan County Courthouse

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1934, K. M. Vitzthum and William Weeks; 1957 addition. 615 N. 6th St.

When built at the depth of the Great Depression, this courthouse expressed a sense of optimism for the future and pride in the past, for its completion coincided with the centennial observance of the city’s founding. To create a contemporary design, the County Board of Supervisors engaged Vitzthum of Chicago, in association with Weeks, a locally prominent architect. The two produced a six-story Moderne monolith of Indiana limestone with setbacks. Tall narrow windows between buttresses create a strong vertical emphasis. Chevrons etch the buttresses, the panels between windows, and the roofline, softening the severity of the geometric forms, and carved winged lions ornament the stepped parapet above the entrance portal. The building’s bold geometric massing continues in the lobby and halls inside, accentuated by striking color contrasts of pink marble walls, black marble baseboards, and brass-seamed terrazzo floors. Easily crafted ornament such as the chevrons bordering the plaster ceilings and the torch-shaped aluminum-and-brass wall sconces were common in government buildings at this time, when economy was the watchword. The design of the rear annex echoes the original.

Writing Credits

Author: 
Marsha Weisiger et al.
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Citation

Marsha Weisiger et al., "Sheboygan County Courthouse", [Sheboygan, Wisconsin], SAH Archipedia, eds. Gabrielle Esperdy and Karen Kingsley, Charlottesville: UVaP, 2012—, http://sah-archipedia.org/buildings/WI-01-SB4.

Print Source

Buildings of Wisconsin

Buildings of Wisconsin, Marsha Weisiger and contributors. Charlottesville: University of Virginia Press, 2017, 264-265.

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