While the WPA guide loved Ripley, it hated the courthouse, calling it “a gray stone pile, as square and as plain as an arsenal, with solid walls slit by narrow windows set in deep embrasures.” Actually the building is a very credible “county capitol,” a neoclassical building of Indiana limestone surmounted by an octagonal cupola. The rusticated English basement and first story serve as a visual platform for the two stories above, where bays are faced in smooth ashlar between rusticated pilasters. The ground-level entrance is through the arcaded base, which supports a giant-order Ionic portico. The name of the building is inscribed in the frieze, and an ornamental cartouche decorates the pediment. A later jail and new office wing to the rear are properly subservient in scale and size.
Small commercial buildings surround Courthouse Square. One, on the southeast corner of Main and Court streets, has a pressed metal front. A block away, on the northeast corner of Church and North streets, is Epworth United Methodist Church (1956, Albert F. Tucker), with a tower modeled on that of Bruton Parish Church in Williamsburg, Virginia. The church is similar to the same architect's St. John's Episcopal Church in Huntington ( HU38).