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Current view of the Hardin County Courthouse
Courtesy of the Hardin County Community Development Council

Locally significant as the historical focus of county government, the Hardin County Courthouse is a fine example of Victorian Romanesque courthouses, richly detailed on the exterior. Constructed in 1892 at a cost of $48,000, the courthouse is an architectural amalgamation of several styles. Designed by architect T. D. Allen, the imposing brick and stone facade of the building is characterestic of the Richardsonian Romanesque. Romanesque arches, resting upon polished red granite columns, grace the north and south entrances. However, the corner turrets, hipped roof, cross gables and cut stone trimmings are distinctive Queen Anne features. The 128-foot high clock tower is reminiscent of Italian gothic town centers. The building exterior is of St. Louis pressed brick and pink Kasota stone. Semi-circular transoms adorn the upper middle east and west windows. These transoms feature the great seal of the State of Iowa etched onto frosted glass. Statues depicting Justice, Mercy and Liberty stand enshrined in an alcove beneath the clock tower.


Historic depiction of the Hardin County Courthouse
Courtesy of the Hardin County Community Development Council

The large entrance arch on short, tripled columns, and the checkerboard patterning in the brick and rock faced stone, are additional fine details. Hardin County had been attached to Marshall County for revenue and judicial purposes until it was duly organized in February 1853. Eldora was picked as the county seat, and the first county courthouse was a two-story frame building erected in 1856. In October of that same year it was destroyed by fire and a new courthouse was built in 1857. At about this time, an effort was made to move the county seat to Point Pleasant, but a contested vote landed the matter in litigation. After 10 years, the Supreme Court finally decided in favor of Eldora in June 1868.

The Hardin County Courthouse faces Hwy. 175 on the square, in the middle of Eldora. Tours are offered 8:00am to 4:30pm weekdays, but must be scheduled two weeks in advance. Please call 641-648-4570 or e-mail rodscott@iowaconnect.com for further information.

[graphic] Collage of different scenes from Hardin County
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