Tuesday, February 10, 2015

Marshall County Courthouse

The Marshall County Courthouse in Marshalltown, Iowa, was built between 1884 and 1886 on land given to the county by the town's founder, Henry Anson, with the provision that a courthouse costing at least $100,000 would be built.  Construction costs totalled just short of $150,000.
Our objective in visiting the courthouse was to visit the clock tower and see the view from the top of the courthouse like we did in Grundy County.  Papa and I were told that the clock tower is closed during the winter, but tours are available during the summer months, so we contented ourselves with admiring the architecture and visiting a courtroom.
The photo in the upper left hand corner looks up toward the chandelier on the next floor.  The photos on the right show the entry, and on the lower left, the doorway that leads to the Auditor/Recorder's office.

During the Great Depression, the county was not able to afford the upkeep of the courthouse, and its condition deteriorated so much that a replacement was contemplated.  A committee to save the courthouse was formed, and after a referendum where Marshall County citizens voted to keep and restore the old courthouse, the county issued $3.2 million in bonds in 1974 for a restoration.  The rebuilding process was completed in 1978.
On the third floor we visited one of the courtrooms.  It was large, with a majestic, elevated ceiling.  The fourth floor courtroom was unavailable for touring, as court was in session.  

I've always wondered why people seem to dislike jury duty so much, apart from the fact that it upsets their schedules.  In old television shows it always seems there's at least one dissenting jury member who makes life difficult for all the others--whether Lucy in Here's Lucy or Aunt Bee in The Andy Griffith Show.
Have you ever done jury duty?  If so, what did you think of it?
Which tv shows do you recall with an episode where the star had to do jury duty?

 "Let judgment run down as waters, and righteousness as a mighty stream." --Amos 5:24

100 comments:

  1. It's a truly imposing building and you've captured its ambience perfectly.

    I've never sat on a jury but friends of mine who have praise the system as being transparent and as fair as it can be. They all also add that some jurors are steered by prejudice (ie "You can tell by looking at him that he's as guilty as sin itself") but are always outvoted (but not necessarily persauded) by those who exercise common sense.

    Thanks for this beautiful and stimulating post.

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    1. Good to hear the sensible jurors have had the upper hand in the cases your friends have been on. Things are not always as they seem, and it's usually (perhaps always) unwise to evaluate a person's character just by how they look.

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  2. a very grand looking building! i've been chosen for a panel before but never for a jury (and i'm grateful).

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    1. Considering that the other day I took 3 pairs of shoes with me in the car because I was in a hurry and couldn't decide which to wear, it might be a good thing I haven't been called up for jury duty (at least not yet). I'd love to give jury duty a try, but maybe I need to improve on my decision-making abilities first. :D

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  3. This is such a beautiful building! I've never been on jury duty (I'm not old enough, by a lot) or in a courthouse, but my mom has told me some of the architecture types of the courthouses she has worked in when she used to be a lawyer.

    xoxo Morning

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    1. Sounds like your mom had the perfect profession for getting opportunities to visit courthouses! It is neat to admire the architecture.

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  4. What a beautiful building, inside and out. I really enjoyed seeing this.

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    1. Glad you did. Thanks for visiting, Mari!

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  5. I have never done jury duty but if I do I would want it to be in this courthouse! How breath taking is this building!!! Wishing you a wonderful week! Nicole xo

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    1. Thanks Nicole! The Grundy County courthouse I visited before this one originally had a high ceiling, but the ceiling had been lowered to conserve energy. It was neat for me to see the full majesty of a courtroom with a high ceiling. Have a great week as well!

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  6. I LOVE historic courthouses--especially those with clock towers! So glad they voted to save their courthouse--it makes me quite sad when our old homes and public buildings are torn down. I was called for jury duty once that I recall but was unable to serve and excused due to a health issue.
    Blessings, Aimee

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    1. Yes, it would have been a pity to have torn down that lovely old courthouse. We often wonder how long the old farm houses that get torn down in our area will be remembered. Often the land is plowed and planted, and it can be pretty hard to remember.

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  7. Bethany ii is a great building. But at my place taking photos inside is forbidden.As I know that is the rule in Europe. You must get a special permission. Why? Because safety rules are differnt here. In each corthouse there is an armed protection...like in the airport.. the rules are the same.

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    1. Too bad that photos aren't allowed. Life is different here in small town Iowa. At the state capitol in Des Moines they do have a metal detector and a couple men guarding the entrance, but no one would dream of needing armed guards at the courthouses. People wave at each other when they drive by, and most people know better than to say anything bad about anyone else because you never know if the person you're talking about might be someone's cousin!

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  8. $150,000.00 in 1884 was allot of money! Beautiful architecture inside and out on this beautifully restored building.
    Never been called for jury duty thankfully but I did go to court once when I was 18 or 19 for not paying a speeding ticket... The Judge asked why I hadn't paid it yet and I very eloquently said "I forgot"... Such a teenage guy thing. Ha ha!

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    1. If that's your worst crime, you're doing well! ;) Yes, $150,000 was a fortune back then.

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  9. Magnificent historic building both inside and out.
    Beautiful photos Bethany.
    Best regards, Irma

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  10. That's really interesting. I'm always amazed at how much it cost to build something like that compared to what it would cost today. Luckily, I've never had to serve jury duty but living in Europe could have something to do with that. :0)

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    1. I'm sure a new courthouse would cost millions, and be not nearly as elegant.

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  11. It is grand building, I love the clock tower.. I have been called for Jury Duty twice but was not chosen..Great post and photos, Bethany!

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  12. I love, love the courthouse architecture! I've always thought it would be a great idea to photograph some really great looking ones and write about them in a book, but I haven't done it. Hey, maybe you should. :)

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    1. That would make a neat book--sounds like a great idea!

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  13. That is a beautiful courthouse Bethany! Much nicer looking than the one in my home town that was rebuilt in the 1980's.

    I hope to get chosen for Jury Duty sometime. I've always thought it sounded interesting!

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    1. Yes, it does sound like something that would be interesting to do at least once in a lifetime just to find out what it is like.

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  14. What a beautiful building. And how wonderful that it was restored instead of replaced. What a shame it would have been if it was destroyed. I would LOVE to be chosen for jury duty. I'd really enjoy that.

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    1. It does sound like it would be neat! Best wishes to both you and me on getting a summons!

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  15. Hi Bethany, Before commenting on this post, I just wanted to say: You are a most unusual and most welcome find for me in the blogosphere. Not only do you leave me **thoughtful** comments on my blog but also comments on my comments here. I don't know how you have the time to do it, but I just want you to know it is appreciated! Now, as for the courthouse ... very nice photos, as always, and what a classic looking courtroom ... I wouldn't be surprised to learn that it has been used in films. No, I have not been asked to do jury duty, but I would consider it an awesome responsibility. To be judged by "your peers" ... what could provide greater justice? Even so, it isn't always perfect, is it? Can human constructs ever be so? Thanks for sharing your photography and asking us such thought provoking questions! Thanks for all your comments on my blog. John

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    1. Thank you for your thoughtful comments as well, John! I always look forward to them. I agree that human justice isn't always perfect and mistakes are made, but you are right...being judged by our peers is about as close as we are going to get to justice until the good Lord takes over on Judgment Day.

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  16. What a beautiful courthouse! Glad it was decided to restore it and not knock down such a grand old building. I was once on a jury for a 3-day trial. It was a very interesting experience.

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  17. Thanks, Bethany, for the tour of this courthouse ..it's quite grand!
    Wonderful photos!
    I have never served on jury duty but my husband did.

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  18. I've only served on one jury and that was many years ago. It was interesting to observe the selection process and watch the lawyers present their cases. Fortunately the prosecuting attorney did his job well and it was easy to reach a guilty verdict so I didn't lose any sleep over our decision.

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  19. oh my word, what a beautiful place. i'm such a history nut,especially for old buildings. my music travels frequently take me though tiny towns/county seats with the neatest courthouses and they're just so cool. this one though, is awesome. the woodwork is so beautiful! and man, do i LOVE the first pic of the front. the snow and how the sky is just SO.BLUE. is amazing.

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    1. Thanks Abigail. Iowa is a beautiful place...even when it's *cold.*

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  20. Oh wow, Bethany! What beautiful architecture! Thank you so much for sharing these gorgeous photos with us. I've not ever had to serve jury duty...and I don't recall ever watching any shows that the star is doing jury duty. I'd have loved to seen Lucy on jury duty! :)

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    1. The Here's Lucy episode where Lucy does jury duty is on Youtube. Joan Rivers joined her for that one...though I don't remember for sure how it ends.

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  21. What a magnificent old building! I had jury duty last month, but I didn't get picked to serve. Mostly I just sat around the courthouse all day waiting, but I did meet some interesting people.

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    1. Awesome that you were able to meet some interesting people; otherwise, I'm sure it would have been a very boring day.

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  22. Your courthouse is a beauty...inside and outside. I've never done jury duty but I'd like to try it at least once.

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  23. It is a very imposing building, and rightly so. Many years ago I was excused jury duty because of the job I did at the time. But I was always around our own law courts - where I worked - and found all the proceedings fascinating.

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    1. Sounds like you had a job that must have given you a lot better view of the legal system than most people get to see.

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  24. I do love lovely old courthouses. This is exceptional. No, I've never been called for jury duty and at my age, I won't. But, as president of MADD in our county, I sat in a courtroom listening to case after case of drunk driving being held. So, it is a familiar scene for me.

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    1. Sounds like you have been involved in a worthy cause; it is sad how much damage and hurt drunk drivers have caused.

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  25. what a gorgeous old building, indoors as well!!! i have never done jury duty!!!

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    1. It is one of the more beautiful courthouses in the area--though we are blessed with several good-looking old ones.

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  26. I always seek out the courthouse when traveling through a new {or old!} town. We have some beauties here in Texas and this one you have shared is beautiful as well! I've been called twice for jury duty, but being the sole caregiver to my dad always allowed me to be excused. I think the experience could be interesting, but it could also be awful! Have a blessed day!

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  27. So glad to read that this beautiful courthouse was saved and restored.

    I was called for jury duty twice when we lived in Arizona but never made the final selection process.

    Lindy

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    1. Yes, I'm pretty happy they saved the courthouse!

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  28. What a beautiful building! :D I'm sorry that you didn't get to go up into the clock tower, but at least you got some good indoor shots. :)
    I've never done jury duty before - so far, I've only had one summons, and they didn't end up needing jurors. In some ways it sounds like it would be interesting, but my mom had a bad experience being on a jury, so there are definite downsides.

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    1. I think there are down and upsides to just about everything. Sorry to hear about your mom's bad experience.

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  29. That is quite a grand looking courthouse. I have done Jury Duty, It's okay but I prefer not to serve on one if I don't have too.

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  30. Hi Bethany, Just stopping by again to thank you for your comments on my blog and reply to one of your comments ... regarding your comment on my old postcard about sheep herding in Montana ... You mentioned your grandmother had a card from your great grandmother about cattle getting stolen. It would be wonderful to see that old card if you ever have a chance to post it. Based on my experience collecting old cards, I can tell you it is probably a valuable card as well. Thanks again and have a good weekend. John

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    1. I hope I do get to see it one of these days. Have a splendid weekend as well!

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  31. They really don't build public buildings like they used to!

    Cheers - Stewart M - Melbourne

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  32. Older buildings are always neat to tour!! I was called for jury duty but did not have to serve as I was in Bible school at the time!

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  33. That first picture is so beautiful! Love the building and the blue sky behind it! Such a wonderful court house! We do not have the same concept of jury duty in Germany so I've never done anything like that.

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  34. What a neat building - so sad that the clock tower was closed. I was called to jury duty once, but I couldn't serve since I'm not a US citizen (yet). It would be very interesting, I think (depending on the case).

    Jury duty actually does a bit more than upsetting people's schedule. If you work and get paid by the hour, for example, you do lose money, and some people just can't afford that. Disrupted schedules are difficult to handle when you have small kids, an older person to care for etc. Especially when you just sit around in the courthouse waiting all day as someone mentioned here.

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  35. Quite a beautiful building and some fascinating architecture! Have a great Monday :)

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  36. A very beautiful building. I guess you will have to return to go into the clock tower. I've been considered for jury duty, but never chosen. At the time it would've been hard on my boss who depended on me greatly. Now, I would not mind, since I am not working.

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    1. Yes, I do hope we make it back there this summer to see the clock tower.

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  37. That is a lovely building. I've never been called for jury duty, but I've always wanted to be considered. My absolute favorite movie about jury duty is 12 Angry Men... love it, love it, love it. I must have seen that movie at least 15 times... :)

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    1. Never heard of it! I'll have to look it up to see what it's about.

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  38. That is a remarkable old building. The courthouse in the county I live in burned in the late 1800s then a tornado heavily damaged it in 1974.

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    1. Ah, that's too bad--sounds like it has endured some tough times.

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  39. It's just stunning! Love your photo. Hope you get to go back in the summer.

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  40. I love old courthouses, too- I've spent time in so many here in AR doing my genealogy research. I don't usually get to tour, just sit in a stuff, dusty vault! I have sat on a jury, and it was a murder trial and I hope I never, ever, have to do that again. Have a wonderful day!!

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    1. A murder trial would be very tough.

      Neat that you are interested in genealogy! Family history is very interesting--and I love to see old records.

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  41. What a beautiful building and your photos are quite captivating, Bethany. The first time I was summoned for jury duty the case was resolved and I didn't have to show up, the second time I had just had a baby so I was excused, and the third time I made it into the court room. The jury was chosen before my name was called, but it was quite the fun experience :) The court room I was in was not as nice as this one.

    Thanks for sharing! Blessings!

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    1. I'd say you had a pretty good excuse for the second time! Thanks for visiting, Stephanie! God bless!

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  42. Hi Bethany, Thank you for your comments and replies. You mentioned looking through old slides on a projector with your folks ... that brings back a lot of old memories. I scanned a lot of my old slides and looking at them on the computer is good, but doesn't have the impact of the old fashioned slide shows. Thanks for jogging the memory! Have a good weekend! John

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    1. Thanks! Hope you had a great weekend as well!

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  43. Absolutely beautiful. I love history. You can almost feel it in these places.

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  44. What a lovely building!!! When I was in school never liked history and lately started to love history and old styles :) Have a blessed weekend! Liuba x

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    1. Glad you've started to enjoy it. I find history fascinating.

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  45. Hi Bethany,
    Your capture is wonderfully done - particularly the lighting.
    The building is very nice also.
    I once worked in a big building like that where there was a dome with a clock in it.
    And, I did climb a ladder go up into the dome and it was a lot of fun, though a bit scary for me.
    I hope you get to enjoy the view you are so looking forward to.
    Have a Beautiful Day!
    Peace :)

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  46. What a beautiful building and it's great that it is still in use. The old courthouses in my town have been replaced by newer ones. The old buildings still exist and they are used for functions or just closed. I have had letters notifying that I might be called for jury duty but I have never had to serve on a jury. I've watched several tv shows where the main character has to do jury duty. The one I remember is from the tv show called Becker which is about a cantankerous city doctor. He is called for jury duty but is never selected. He still has to show up to court every day until he is dismissed. After some time, he gets addicted to the soap opera he watches in the waiting room and doesn't want to leave when he finally gets dismissed.

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    1. Ha! The dangers of jury duty... Thanks for sharing, Carlyn! :)

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  47. They just don't make buildings like this anymore, I love to view the architecture of these old buildings

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