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When is the front door not the front door?

May 29, 2008

We don’t really write enough about architecture but that’s my fault. I have only recently began to appreciate architecture having spent the last three decades thinking of buildings in a purely utilitarian way when I thought of them at all.

This story in today’s Star Press about the Randolph County courthouse is kind of interesting if zoning laws, municipal variances, and uncivil civic discourse appeals to you at all. I like it because it’s a good example of what can happen when architecture, renovation, and public policy meet. Who knew that the symmetrically-minded architects of the neoclassical age should have been prescient enough to write “front door” on their blueprints?

OK, so technically according to this website the Randolph County courthouse was built in the Second Empire style (which sounds neoclassical to me, but like I said, I’m new to this architecture thing) and the “symmetrically-minded architect” in question was a self-taught architect (carpenter by profession) by the name of J.C. Johnson, who also designed the Adams County courthouse.

And while we’re on the subject I feel I should reprint this from their website as well:

Earlier this year, the Randolph County Commission voted to wreak havoc on the Winchester Courthouse Square Historic District by voting to tear down the 128-year-old county courthouse. If the Randolph County Courthouse falls, it will be the first loss in Indiana since the Cass County Courthouse was leveled nearly 30 years ago. Historic Landmarks Foundation of Indiana, as well as preservationist around the state, including Chief Justice Randall Shepard, have been outspoken in their opposition to the commission’s decision.

Among those working to save the courthouse, none can trump the Winchester Bridge Club ladies for audacity. To call attention to the cause, the club members have posed—showing all their cards, so to speak, but holding strategically placed models of the courthouse—for a fundraising calendar . Even before the calendar has been published, the ladies have more than accomplished their mission of drawing local and even national attention to the courthouse.

This entry was posted by: Jim
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