Monday, June 20, 2016

Monroe County Courthouse

St. Louis Trip, Day 8, Friday, July 31, 2015
Another stop on our trip home from St. Louis was the Monroe County Courthouse in Albia, Iowa.
The first session of the court in Madison County was held in a log house without a floor.  During the session, Judge Charles Mason, the lawyers, and the clerks slept on the ground.  Since there was no barn, their horses were tied to trees outside  One night there was a severe storm, so they brought the horses in and stabled them in the courtroom where they slept until morning. 

The first real courthouse was built in 1846 for a sum of $75.  It was built of logs in a 20x20 foot square with a 14-foot ceiling.  By 1858 the budget for a courthouse had increased considerably.  A brick building was constructed at the present site for $11,350.
The cornerstone of the courthouse currently standing was laid in 1902. In 1910, voters approved a $75,000 bond issue (later raised to $100,000) for the construction of the courthouse.  It was built using Cleveland Stone known as "Grey Canyon."  Tennessee Marble was used for the interior. The clock tower was purchased and installed for $740.
Outside, surrounded by a flower garden, a soldier stands, erected to the memory of fallen Civil War heroes.  The 1000-pound bell was removed from the courthouse in 1970 to be displayed on the lawn.  It was, like the clock tower, purchased from Seth Thomas at a cost of $300.  The bell is a mixture of New Lake Superior Copper and East India Black Tin.
The centerpiece of the foyer is the original 1902 water fountain.  A sign designated the fountain "for display purposes only."  The storage vault reminded me of old bank vaults in Western movies.

 County employees were drinking their morning coffee, and residents were starting to show up to get their business done at the courthouse.  

The courtroom has a beautiful elevated ceiling, unlike many other courthouses where the ceilings have been lowered for heating efficiency.  I also loved the woodwork!
 Due to insurance policies, visitors aren't allowed up to the clock tower...which was disappointing, but expected.  I've only visited two courthouses (one is my own courthouse in Grundy County) where I was allowed into the clocktower.  Every other courthouse (so far) has told the same story about restrictive insurance policies.
It was neat to see a centennial time vault outside the courthouse.  Doesn't 2059 sound in the distant future?  I should be 65 when this vault is opened.  Come to think of it, it's kind of scary that is only 43 years away...

Monroe County was originally a coal-mining community.  The Albia downtown area is remarkably well-preserved--and bustling with activity.  As of 2014, the town had 3,782 residents.  The peak population was reached in 1950 with 5, 157, but it does not appear the population is decreasing at present.  Since 2000, there has actually been a 2% increase.
The building on the upper left is dated 1875.  Many others had dates in the 1870s-90s.  The oldest building I noticed was dated 1855.  The Albia Historic Preservation Board has had a project ongoing since 1987 to install Victorian era street lamps like the one seen above right.

I'm glad we stopped in the lovely town of Albia.  We're not often in southern Iowa, so it was a treat to be able to check a few courthouses in that area off our list of sites to see.

Due to technical issues, I have fallen behind on replying to comments.  
I plan to return to the blogging world on Saturday, June 25th.
Thank you for stopping by!

38 comments:

  1. Replies
    1. There are a lot of beautiful old ones around the state.

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  2. Even though I;m on a blogging break, I just had to come over here and say WOW!!! This is fascinating. I love history, historic buildings and anything to do with law enforcement or justice, so seeing this old courthouse is right up my alley! I wouldn't have thought the inside of the courtroom would look as it does though. Those high ceilings are amazing!!! Thanks for sharing a bit of your journey through Iowa, Bethany. Looks like your summer is off to a good start. :-)

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    1. It is a treat to see a courtroom with the original high ceilings! Thanks for stopping by, Anne!

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  3. What fabulous photos to go with the fabulous history! That courtroom is absolutely stunning and speaking of stunning, I so enjoyed the photos of the flowers :)

    Have a wonderful week, dear Bethany. Hugs!

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    1. Visiting historical places makes history a lot more interesting. Have a great week as well, Stephanie!

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  4. I love that you share these photos and information about historical areas. I learn a lot about other places, particularly places where my blogging friends live. We have similar looking buildings in my small city, a very old part of Canada. I think you'd really love it here and enjoy taking photos!

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    1. From the photos you share on your blog, I'm sure I would!

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  5. Thanks for more interesting views and history from your travels, Bethany. I appreciate your efforts and hope you get your technical difficulties easily resolved. xx

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    1. After four years of eating cereal beside my laptop without a mishap, I spilled milk on my keyboard and had to have it replaced. It's been said a person should not cry over spilled milk, but that was probably the most expensive milk/cup of cereal I've ever had!

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  6. Great photos, Bethany! I really like the time vault. We have one here in our small town, too.

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    1. It's interesting to consider what the world will be like in 2059 when the vault is opened!

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  7. You visit the neatest places! I really like this one! I love the history and the architecture.

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  8. The courthouse is a beautiful building, as are the other places you photographed! :) How neat to have them standing like monuments of history.

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    1. Yes, it is great to see so many of them in such good condition.

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  9. I love the details and great thought that has gone into designing and constructing this fine building!
    Really enjoyed your photos and information!

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  10. Wow, that is super cool! Wonder what could be in that Centennial Time Vault.... rather intriguing.

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    1. It would be fun to attend the opening of a time vault.

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  11. This is a very fancy building. what wonderful colors on your building on the blog, have a great week, cheers.

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  12. What a beautiful building...and I love the architecture!

    Wishing you a great weekend :)

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  13. Hi Bethany, Another excellent post here. It is so neat that you take the time to stop at these places, take some photos, and share the visit with us. I almost feel like I've been to the Monroe County Courthouse! I'm surprised at the population of Albia ... seems like a lot for a small town. Enjoyed all the photos and I'm fascinated with the "time vault"! Wishing you a fine week ahead! Can you believe June is nearly over? :-)

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    1. Time goes too quickly. If there is one thing I've learned this year, it's tempus fugit.

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  14. Very inspiring post! Love all the photos you shared :) Liuba x

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  15. I love reading about the places you visit. I think it's interesting how the judge and the rest of the staff had to sleep in the courthouse when it was initially constructed. I like how the population is still growing in Monroe county rather than dying.

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    1. Indeed. So many small Iowa towns have decreasing populations...so it is pretty awesome that the county is growing.

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  16. Hallo Bethany!!!
    Very beautiful post. I read with great interest.
    Your pictures are great.
    Happy week.
    Lucja

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    1. Thanks Lucja! Have a great week as well.

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  17. Hi Bethany, Wow, so good to hear from you and get all the kind and thoughtful comments on my blog. Great to see you back! Computer issues are always a pain but especially for those of us in the blogospere. :-) Things have been a bit slow here for the last week. A brother-in-law seccumbed to cancer and passed away last Tuesday. Then, we had such a tough week nationally due to racial tensions and multiple deaths including the five law enforcement officers in Dallas. I wonder how you are mentally processing all the unrest in our country? Once again I find myself wishing you were running for President this year! :-) I was tempted to email you one day when I heard a commentator on the radio make a political remark. If any of my blogging friends know politics, it would be you! Anyway, what do you think ... the commentator said that the current Presidental race is the political equivalent of a "dumpster fire". I must say I'm not EXACTLY sure what he meant ... but perhaps, hardly worth responding to? Well, enough of my rambling on here. Thank you again for your comments and for the great job you do with Today Liberty or Death! I will be looking forward to your next post!

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    1. Hi John, Sorry to hear of your brother-in-law's passing.

      The racial tensions and killings do not make any sense to me. I guess there have always have been people filled with hate, and as long as this world continues, there always will be. But hate just because a person is white, or black--or a police officer--is so completely unintelligent as to be somewhat mind-boggling.

      A dumpster fire does not sound good by any means, but I think we may get a better understanding of the term in the upcoming debates. To be honest, the only thing that would make me excited about the end of summer is the chance to watch Clinton and Trump duke it out. Considering how (pitifully) entertaining the debates between brother-Republicans were, seeing Clinton and Trump debate will be prime-time tv!

      Thanks as always for your interesting/thought-provoking comments.

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    2. Hi Bethany, You are absolutely the best at replying to comments! I've tried to do this on a few occasions and it definitely does take an extra measure of dedication to do it and especially as thoughtfully as you do. I happened to be looking at another blog we both follow ... Keith's Musings of an Uapologetic Dreamer and his most recent post, Should We Really Lose Faith? I wanted to leave him a comment and upon opening up the comments section found well over 150 comments and just happened to notice yours! What a great comment about living on the sunny side! Thanks, Bethany, for all you contribute to the blogosphere!

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    3. Thank you as well, John. I figure if anyone takes the time to write a comment, I have the time to respond! I really appreciate my readers. Keith manages to write very interesting posts, and it is fun for me to read what everyone comes up with in his comments as well.

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