Old Vanderburgh County Courthouse

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Old Vanderburgh County Courthouse
Old Vanderburgh County Courthouse, Evansville, IN, US.jpg
LocationEvansville, Indiana
Coordinates37°58′26″N 87°34′20″W / 37.9739°N 87.5722°W / 37.9739; -87.5722Coordinates: 37°58′26″N 87°34′20″W / 37.9739°N 87.5722°W / 37.9739; -87.5722
Area2.2 acres (0.89 ha)
Built1888 – 1890
ArchitectHenry Wolters
Architectural styleBaroque
NRHP reference No.70000010[1]
Added to NRHPSeptember 4, 1970

The Old Vanderburgh County Courthouse, often simply called the "Old Courthouse," was once the center of Vanderburgh County, Indiana government. Construction started in the spring of 1888 and was completed in November 1890. The building was ready to be occupied by the county government in early 1891.[2] It sits in the heart of downtown Evansville.

The building was designed by architect Henry W. Wolters of Louisville, Kentucky and constructed by the Charles Pearce & Company of Indianapolis. The 19th century German Beaux-Arts architecture masterpiece cost $379,450 to build.[n 1] The Old Courthouse occupies an entire city block, bounded by Court, Fourth, Vine and Fifth Streets, with each side being encrusted with sculptures and stone carvings in Indiana limestone. The fourteen main statues of human figures are the work of Franz Engelsmann, who studied under the great German masters before setting up his studio in Chicago. In addition, carvings of vegetables, fruits, and flowers indigenous to the area adorn the capitals of the forty-eight pairs of pilasters around the entire building.[4][5]

Before the courthouse was built, the site was a basin where canal boats on the Wabash and Erie Canal would deliver cargo and turn around for the return trip north. After the advent of the railroads and the canal's abandonment, the site was filled in and the courthouse was constructed upon it.

A tunnel runs beneath Vine Street connecting the Old Courthouse to the Old Vanderburgh County Jail.

  1. ^ "National Register Information System". National Register of Historic Places. National Park Service. July 9, 2010.
  2. ^ "The Old Vanderburgh County Courthouse". Vanderburgh County, Indiana. Retrieved 2006-12-25.
  3. ^ Williamson, Samuel H. (2011). Seven Ways to Compute the Relative Value of a U.S. Dollar Amount, 1774 to present. MeasuringWorth. Calculations made using Nominal GDP Per Capita, a measure of capital intensivity, using "the 'average' per-person output of the economy in the prices of the current year." This is a measure of the amount of capital and volume of labor required to reproduce the work over varying production methods, but assuming that money represents a proportion of the economy.
  4. ^ Counts, Will; Jon Dilts (1991). The 92 Magnificent Indiana Courthouses. Bloomington, Indiana: Indiana University Press. pp. 170–171. ISBN 978-0-253-33638-5.
  5. ^ "Indiana State Historic Architectural and Archaeological Research Database (SHAARD)" (Searchable database). Department of Natural Resources, Division of Historic Preservation and Archaeology. Retrieved 2016-08-01. Note: This includes Alexander L. Leitch (February 1970). "National Register of Historic Places Inventory Nomination Form: Old Vanderburgh County Courthouse" (PDF). Retrieved 2016-08-01. and Accompanying photographs

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