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Thread: USA Today article about preserving old courthouses

  1. #1
    Cyburbian Plus
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    USA Today article about preserving old courthouses

    Pint Headline: Old courthouses standing trial
    Web Headline: Counties debate saving old courthouses
    http://www.usatoday.com/news/nation/...ses17_ST_N.htm

    HIGHLIGHT:
    Counties across the country are debating the fates of historic courthouses, and many decide to rescue them. "In Europe, you had cathedrals as the great buildings of a community," says Jim Peters, president of Landmarks Illinois, a preservation group. In the USA, "it's the courthouse where the public invested money. They are important symbols of government and democracy. People are very proud of them."
    Our historic (1890) courthouse is maintained and occupied.

    State Planning conference had a reception in the rotunda of the Allen County, IN Courthouse and tour of the courtrooms - very cool.

    Does your fair community have and still use your historic courthouse ?
    Does it have it own website with photos ?

  2. #2
    Cyburbian
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    Hawaii State Court, Aliʻiōlani Hale (which translates roughly to House of the Heavenly Chief), is a very interesting historic building http://maps.google.com/maps/place?oe...90441751664545

    It was built when Hawai'i was still a sovereign Kingdom, circa 1870. Originally, Ali'iolani Hale was to be a royal palace; however, as the government continued to change and reflect more European and American systems, the need for an official government house was realized and Ali'iolani Hale was used for legislative purposes. After the Kingdom of Hawai'i was overthrown in 1893, the building was used by the Republic of Hawaii for the same purposes. Sometime in the early 1900s, following the ceding of Hawaiian lands to the US during the Spanish-American War, it was converted for judicial purposes and now seats the State of Hawaii Supreme Court.

    The architecture is very European with very few Hawaiian or Polynesian architectural components. There is, however, a statue of Kamehameha in front of the building. It still stands strong and well maintained today.

  3. #3
    Cyburbian mgk920's avatar
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    The Outagamie County courthouse here in Downtown Appleton was built in the mid-1930s (the old WPA artwork is still there in the lobby), but the court functions were moved a couple of decades ago to a fairly ugly new seven-story jail/court/Sheriff's department building called the 'Justice Center', located across the street. The neat-looking art-deco former courthouse is part of a much expanded building complex where the county's administrative offices and Social Services department are located. In that building, originally the jail was on the top floor (several departments, including planning, are now there) and the building was expanded several times, including with a new jail, Sheriff's department and more offices in the late 1960s/early 1970s (Social Services uses most of that space now), until the Justice Center was built in the late 1980s/early 1990s.

    http://maps.google.com/?ie=UTF8&ll=4...05493&t=k&z=18

    Also Streetview:
    http://maps.google.com/?ie=UTF8&ll=4...,46.77,,0,1.14

    and:
    http://maps.google.com/?ie=UTF8&ll=4...=fr-2628033999

    The ugly Justice Center building is in the back left:
    http://maps.google.com/?ie=UTF8&ll=4...103.11,,0,0.25

    It is an interesting place.

    Appleton is also in Calumet County and they still us their much-expanded neat old courthouse building in small-town Chilton, WI for court and administrative office purposes, but unfortunately, the Google Streeview car hasn't yet found it.

    The courtrooms serving the Winnebago County part of Appleton, in the county seat of Oshkosh, are still in their 1930s-era building:

    http://maps.google.com/?ie=UTF8&ll=4...05493&t=k&z=18

    (It is the building across the street to the left of the triangular-shaped building, the former county Sheriff's department headquarters, now used by the City of Oshkosh Police Department - City Hall is to its lower right)

    Streetview:
    http://maps.google.com/?ie=UTF8&ll=4...89.45,,0,-8.01

    (Unfortunately, the other side is totally hidden behind a solid canopy of mature trees.)

    Enjoy!

    Mike

  4. #4
    Cyburbian H's avatar
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    http://cottonwoodfallskansas.com/ama...ourthouse.html

    this summer I went to the oldest county courthouse (still in use) in the state of Kansas. pretty neat. if I could figure it out, I would post my pics, but check out the link above for a nice [informative] video about this and old courthouses in general.

  5. #5
    Cyburbian DetroitPlanner's avatar
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    My County Courthouse is now empty. Amazingly, the National Park Service (NPS) has a web page for this building. It was the seat of County Government until last year when it was moved to the Guardian Building. The NPS has a web page for this one too! It ha been used in dozens of movies lately. I sure hope it gets a tennant soon. About 25 years ago, the County sold the courthouse to a developer and there was bad blood between the county and the developer so the county bought another historic building. The County now owns the Guardian Building and leases space.

    Moral to the story sometimes privatizing does not work!

  6. #6
    Cyburbian Rygor's avatar
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    My county courthouse was on the chopping block in the late 90's, but the County finally decided to save it and build an annex adjacent to it for more space and modern facilities. They are still connected, and they actually did a complete restoration of the old building (it's from 1901 and was designed by Joseph Royer) including restoring the clocktower that had been cut short by lightning strikes in the 50's. They made it all earthquake proof and spent several million restoring it with the help of the City, as well. It's a great landmark and symbol of the community.
    "When life gives you lemons, just say 'No thanks'." - Henry Rollins

  7. #7
    Cyburbian Cardinal's avatar
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    Quote Originally posted by mgk920 View post
    The Outagamie County courthouse here in Downtown Appleton was built in the mid-1930s (the old WPA artwork is still there in the lobby), but the court functions were moved a couple of decades ago to a fairly ugly new seven-story jail/court/Sheriff's department building called the 'Justice Center', located across the street. The neat-looking art-deco former courthouse is part of a much expanded building complex where the county's administrative offices and Social Services department are located...
    But you forgot to mention how well the new building (and a couple other county buildings) blend in with the Victorian/early 20th Century neighborhood they encroach upon!

    Some planner came up with the idea of 1) putting an end to expansion of the county offices into the neighborhood; 2) redeveloping the site into more of a campus atmosphere, perhaps with underground parking, and along an axis between the courhouse and the steeple of a 19th Century church at the north end of the site; 3) constructing a convention center on a parking lot adjacent to, and integrated with the park, and; 4) providing public and handicapped access through the convention center to the park, which sits at the bottom of a ravine, and extends out to the Fox River. That planner is some kind of genius.
    Anyone want to adopt a dog?

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