Clinton County Court House

Architectural Tour of Clinton

Clinton County Court House

Clinton, Iowa 52732, United States

Created By: Matt Parbs


Clinton County Court House, 612 North 2nd Street; 1892-1897; G. Stanley Mansfield, Architect, of Freeport, Illinois and Josiah L. Rice, Supervising Architect, of Clinton.The County Court House if a landmark building of three stories with a central tower. The exterior walls are of red sandstone and granite and the tower is of copper cladding which has weathered to a bright green color. The exterior appearance is much the same as originally built; however, the interior has undergone almost continuous change, including the addition of an elevator in the center of the building.The building replaced the first court house of frame construction that stood on Block 8. That building was designed by Architect W. W. Sandborn and was built in 1869 by L. P. Haradon in just 23 days after the county seat was moved to Clinton from DeWitt. In March of 1982, the voters of the County approved construction of a new court house to a budget of $100,000. A design by G. Stanley Mansfield, Architect, of Freeport, Illinois was selected.G. L. LeVeille of Omaha, Nebraska was awarded the construction contract and construction began in 1892. However, because of the swampy nature of the site, the foundations were inadequate and construction was halted. After another election was held, which resulted in disapproval of an additional $35,000 to carry the foundations down another five feet, LeVeille was discharged and later sued for damages by the County Board of Supervisors. J. L. Rice of Clinton was then appointed Supervising Architect in 1893. The court house stood unfinished for some time with just the stonework in place. Finally, in June 1896, additional funds were approved and the court house was finished at a total of $168,000. It was dedicated in August of 1897. Many subcontractors were responsible for completion of the building. Among these were" W. G. Andrews who decorated the interior in Empire and Rococo Styles; George W. Parke of Lyons who had the copper work and slate roofing contracts for the building; and, John F. Schmidt who had the contract for the interior wood finishes.The design of the exterior of the building is most likely the work of Mansfield; however, the tower of copper was different from Mansfield's original drawings and was probably a change designed by J. L. Rice. The structure, despite problems during construction and changes in design, is an imposing, rugged, and handsome building of Romanesque Style. It is an excellent example of its style, period and building type. Clinton County and City Law Enforcement Center, 241 7th Avenue North; 1970; Durrant, Deininger, Dommer, Kramer, Gordon, Architects of Dubuque, Iowa; V & E Construction Company of Galena, Illinois.A two-story reinforced concrete building of 19,574 square feet, it houses the city police on the south side of the first floor while the sheriff occupies the other half of the floor. This level has an earth berm against much of the perimeter wall with a continuous horizontal window above. The jail is on the upper floor. It is cantilevered with beams at the exterior and has small, vertical slot windows in the precast concrete wall.The building, of contemporary design and "Wrightian" is expression, won an architectural design award when built in 1970. The building replaced a jail structure built in 1883 on the site and is the fourth county jail in the history of Clinton County. 

This point of interest is part of the tour: Architectural Tour of Clinton


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