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Sidney, the seat of Fremont County, was established in 1851. Now occupying the southeast corner of Illinois and Filmore streets, at the courthouse square, is the Fremont County Courthouse (1889). The architect, S. E. Maxon, rendered the Richardsonian Romanesque in brick and stone. The building's entrance porch, its two side arches and great arch supported by short columns, is the most telling Romanesque Revival feature of the building. The body of the building and its entrance tower rely on simple rectangular volumes and surfaces, realized in brick with only a small number of horizontal bands of stone. The tower with dormers capped by hipped roofs seems abbreviated, as if waiting for a belfry and spire roof.

Also within the downtown is the former Fremont County Savings Bank of 1914, designed and built by the Lytle Company of Sioux City, a firm that specialized in the design and construction of small banks throughout the upper Midwest. Most of its designs were within the Beaux-Arts Classical tradition, but some, such as the one for the Sidney bank, were in the Prairie style. The building is an elongated brick box, with the center portion of the facade articulated by a gable front. The most striking quality of this building is the high-contrast checkerboard pattern created by the brick and the creamy white glazed tile. A cream-colored terracotta cornice is carried around the pediment and parapets of the building.

Writing Credits

David Gebhard and Gerald Mansheim

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