I have learned that one of the best things about living in a small town is....well.....it is a little wacky, interesting, intriguing, quirky, and full of history. It is a wonderful mix of a lot of little things that make it what it is. The most notable structure in my small town is the historic courthouse that sits in the middle of our town square. Originally, our town had a log courthouse that was built in 1792. This courthouse was completed in 1803.
Local limestone was quarried to build this structure. Limestone blocks make up the fence area and form a courtyard appearance around the courthouse. This courtyard area was not part of the original design. However, the chains that surround the courthouse have been a social gathering spot throughout the years. When I was a child, I can remember gentlemen sitting on the chain areas socializing. Many people used to refer to that group of people as, "The Chain Gang". On occasion people still do sit around the courthouse, but as time has passed our town square is not the bustling business area it used to be.
The basic floorplan remains the same. The judges bench is front and center, a fireplace is off to the left and a staircase is on the right. The second level contains two jury rooms.
The original plan called for a limestone floor. But, for whatever reason, the floor was covered with square bricks, that remain in fairly good condition today.
Today the courthouse remains open for people to come and explore. There have been plays put on here as well as weddings. At our annual Cow Days Festival it is a gathering place for many.
This building was last used as a courthouse in 1933. It was documented the following year by the Historic American Buildings Survey.
Next time your in smalltownland, make sure you stop in for a tour.