Designed with an eye on the future
More than 100 years ago, our community leaders set out to build the grandest of courthouses to better serve a growing Allen County and to
…anticipate the needs of the county for at least a century. Since then, it has been called one of the finest Beaux Arts-style public buildings in the nation.
The Allen County Courthouse was the crowning achievement of architect Brentwood S. Tolan (1855-1923), who previously helped design courthouses in the Indiana towns of LaPorte, Columbia City, LaGrange, Rockville and Warsaw, as well as Van Wert, Ohio. The building is constructed of Bedford, Indiana limestone, with granite columns and white Carrara marble staircases, balustrades and walls.
To decorate the rotunda and four courtrooms, the services of some of the most important muralists of the day were enlisted: Charles Holloway, one of the leading artists of the
Chicago School; Carl Gutherz, whose murals are also found in the Library of Congress; and Florian Pixetto.
The building’s most distinctive feature is its extensive scagliola—a faux marble that uses a unique coloring process. The Courthouse is also notable for its extensive art glass and encaustic floor tiles.
The original Courthouse building and artwork cost $817,000 in 1902. To replicate it today would cost more than $250 million. Throughout the building portraits, murals, sculptures and bas relief tell the story of Allen County’s history through the 19th century. Since then, the Courthouse, itself, has earned a place in our history.
©2007 - 2011 Allen County Courthouse Preservation Trust, Inc., All Rights Reserved.