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Sibley was the first town laid out in Osceola County. It was platted by the Sioux City and Saint Paul Railroad in 1872. Three blocks were set aside for public use: a courthouse square, a public park, and a site for a schoolhouse. The present brick-and-stone Osceola County Courthouse was designed by F. W. Kenney of Austin, Minnesota, and was constructed in 1902–1903. His classically inspired design has the atmosphere of an English manor building of the late seventeenth century. Such historical references had been surfacing in English architecture in the 1890s and early 1900s, and this imagery had also entered the American architectural scene. The building's central and corner pavilions emphasize the horizontal joinery of the masonry, and in a number of instances the pattern of this joinery becomes the voussoirs around the arched windows. The attic section of the entrance pavilion has a set of large round windows, their surrounds pulled out quite far from the surface of the building. Originally there was a dramatic layered, open clock tower topped by a dome, and within the tower was a large statue of Justice. The tower and dome have been removed, and other changes also occurred in remodelings that took place in 1925 and 1961. The courthouse is located in the public square off of routes L40 and A22.

Writing Credits

David Gebhard and Gerald Mansheim

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