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The Buchanan County Courthouse is one of nine courthouses in Iowa built using funds from the Public Works Administration, which was one of several federal agencies established during the Great Depression to boost the economy. The courthouse is also an excellent example of PWA Moderne architecture, which combines the Art Deco and Moderne styles. Built in 1940 after two years of construction, the courthouse features a symmetrical design, buff-colored brick and Bedford limestone trim with cut-stone designs, and metal grills on the two-story windows of the courtroom that create geometric patterns. The courthouse was added to the National Register of Historic Places in 2003.

The Buchanan County Courthouse was built in 1940. An excellent example of Moderne architecture, it continues to serve as the seat of county government.

Building, Plant, Sky, Window

Information about the county's early buildings is largely unknown since few records exist about them. However, what is known is that a small wooden structure built in 1847 was used as the first county courthouse. Then, it appears, the court moved to a log cabin and then to a schoolhouse. A new courthouse was built in 1857 and used until another, fireproof building was erected in 1880. That building was used until the present courthouse was completed in 1939. Both the PWA and residents (through tax dollars) paid for its construction. To celebrate the new building, a paraded attended by 4,000 people was held on May 22. In 1976, a Public and Safety Center wing was added in 1976 and another wing was eventually built on the southern side of the courthouse.

"Buchanan County Courthouse." Iowa Judicial Branch. Accessed September 16, 2021.

Svendsen, Marlys A. "Buchanan County Courthouse." National Park Service - National Register of Historic Places Nomination Form. August 28, 2003.

Image Sources(Click to expand)

Kevin Schuchmann, via Wikimedia Commons: