Saturday, January 21, 2017

Benton County Courthouse

December 4th, I found myself in Vinton, Iowa with my family for the annual Tour de Lights 5K.  The course started at the fire station, and continued right past the Benton County Courthouse!  Before the run, I walked over to get a few photos.  It was a Sunday, so I wasn't able to venture inside.
I do, however, love the Beaux Arts style architecture of the exterior.  This Courthouse was built 1905-1906 of Buckeye gray sandstone, and cost $150,000.  Inside, reportedly there are three murals painted by an unknown artist.  The 1,500-lb. bell (donated by Paul Correll) and the clock were recently completely restored and re-installed.

Benton County was named after Thomas Hart Benton, who served for 30 years as U.S. Senator from Missouri.  Benton was also a colonel in the War of 1812 and a lawyer.  The county was formed in 1837.  Court was first held in a log cabin, which did not have a roof or a floor.  In cases of bad weather, court was moved to a private home.
Work on a courthouse began in the 1840s, but little was built until the 1850s when work resumed.  In 1853 it was destroyed in a fire supposedly started after coals thrown outside from the stove were blown by a strong wind onto a pile of wood shavings left by workmen.  By December 1856, however another courthouse was dedicated.  This one cost $13,000 to build, and was made of brick.

Vinton was originally named Northport.  The name was soon changed to Fremont, in honor of General Fremont.  However, since there was another town in Iowa named Fremont, the name was changed in 1848 to Vinton for Ohio Congressman Plynn Vinton, who "payed $50 (to be invested in town lots), for the honor."  You can read more history at the Benton County website.
Photo courtesy of Charity
The Tour de Lights is the only evening race I've been to.  We ran in the dark with street lights to show us the way and volunteers with what looked like light sabers at turns to guide us.  The roads were slushy and wet with melted snow.  My finish (at 27:48) was much slower than my best.  But it was fun.  And the organizers served delicious beef stew afterward!
I enjoyed my visit to Vinton.

38 comments:

  1. I didn't know anyone ran evening races. I bet it was pretty -even though a bit slushy. That is a beautiful old building, too! Hope you have a good Sunday- xo Diana

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    1. Most every race I go to is in the morning. It was too dark to tell much about the scenery, so I'm glad I took a look around before the sun set. The street lamps in a couple places were nice-looking though.

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  2. Lovely photos, Bethany. I am one of the few who actually loves winter! :)

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  3. Love your great photos...beautiful building...
    I used to love winter when I was younger...we skied and had so much fun...then, when I was working and having to drive on ice and snow...and clean driveways and etc...I began not to like it as much. Then, after we moved into our son's pool house, and the pool right outside our door, I began to love summertime so much

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    1. Heh! That sounds like a good reason to love summer. Glad you have converted to the "correct" side of the argument on which are the best seasons. ;)

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  4. You're very brave to run at night in the snow/slush.

    God bless.

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    1. A friend might say brave. An enemy might use less flattering terms to describe my intelligence... :D

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  5. Wonderful photo of the old building. I think the snow adds to the picture.

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  6. It's a very nice building and I like the architecture style. I never run by evening, although there were some races here too. But it should be funny. The pictures with the snow are impressive.

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    1. It probably is a little safer to run when you can see where you're going. :) But the street lights helped.

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  7. Interesting that the race was in the evening. Great tour of the city!

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    1. I was glad I had the chance to walk around before it got dark.

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  8. Love the architecture of that courthouse!

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  9. these photos look so beautiful with the gentle touch of snow!
    be blessed!

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  10. Congrats on the fun, even though it was slower than you wanted, it's still wonderful. Cool building too. Wow.

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    1. Yep! It was a treat to have the courthouse so close.

      Although I like to set new personal records, I was okay with this race being slower since it was dark, slushy, and potentially slippery--not an ideal course to try for a new best on.

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  11. I'm impressed with your evening winter run!

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  12. Brr!! It looked so cold there! It must have been hard to run with all of that coldness. :) I hope you had a wonderful day out with your family! God bless you, sweet friend. :)

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    1. It was above freezing, so it wasn't too bad. Blessings to you as well, Cheryl!

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  13. All I'm thinking is, "That would have been cold as HECK!!!" But I guess you warm up once you start running. I just walk, so I have to exercise indoors in the winter. What's that thing wrapped in red and white stripes toward the top? At first I thought it was a giant corn cob, but the more I look at it, the more I think it isn't!

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    1. It is a giant corn cob. :) I suppose that is what you could expect considering we're in Iowa. And yes, running really does warm a person up.

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  14. Yikes! Just thinking about that cold air rasping in and out of the lungs... *shudders* Did I mention I have asthma? It sounds like it was a pleasant run.

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    1. It's not that bad until it's below freezing--then a scarf or the like does the job. :)

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  15. Hi Bethany, If my calculation is correct, 5K is about 3.11 miles. My daily walk is about 2.5 miles and yet your time for the 5K is about half of my time for my walk. Ha ha, there you go again being an inspiration! I see you’ve been busy with posts in January and I’m just now getting around to them. This visit to Vinton is a neat post. Hope the new year is getting off to a good start for you!

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    1. Thank you, John! Great that you put in 2.5 miles walking each day. It's good to get some fresh air and exercise.

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  16. OO, isn't Vinton also the place where Mary Ingalls went to the blind school?? And how did you do in the race?

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    1. It is! I didn't know that until I looked it up after seeing your comment. Very neat fact.

      I placed second or third in my age group (I don't remember which) in spite of my rather slow time. Heh...I guess I get credit at least for being willing to run in the cold.

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  17. Wow, I didn't even know there was such a thing as evening races! That's quite the impressive courthouse. Looks pretty with the snow piled up around it.

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    1. Most of the 5Ks seem to be in the morning, but there are a few in the afternoon and evening.

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