06 November 2013

Trip to Williamsport: Warren County Courthouse

Old Glory hanging in the Warren County Courthouse
I have a small project in Warren County, a place I haven't visited in nearly twenty years.  Warren County is southwest of Lafayette, at the state line.  I've been to Williamsport, the county seat, twice now in the last month.  The last time I visited Williamsport I think I was still in college and a college roomie from the area took me to see the sites....which included the town's main claim to fame.  You'll have to wait in anticipation until my next post for that!


Election returns on the main hall of the courthouse
I had to search land records while in Williamsport last week.  That led me to their courthouse and the recorder's office where cabinets stacked with massive and ancient books lined the walls from floor to ceiling.  Here I traced the lineage of a property first purchased from the federal government in 1834 up to 1863.  The original patent holder called his property "Sugar Creek Farm" in his will of 1836.


Main staircase leading to the courtroom
I usually find a reason to go into Indiana's county courthouses whether I have business to conduct or not.  The Warren County Courthouse was no disappointment.  The interior had a complimentary look and feel of a time long-forgotten.  I think I was most impressed with the large chalkboard on the main level hall that listed candidates for office, changed with each election cycle.  It was though I could smell the energy and probably cigar smoke in the air from those heated races generations ago.

Main entrance
The Warren County Courthouse replaced an earlier one constructed during the 1880s, but burned in 1907.  The current building was constructed the same year in the Classical Revival style.  It was designed by J. W. Royer, an architect from Urbana, Illinois.  Williamsport's political claim to fame is James Hanly, Governor of Indiana between 1905-1909.  Hanly campaigned on ending gambling at the casino towns of French Lick and West Baden.  Not only that, but Hanly also worked to prohibit liquor throughout the state.  By the time he left office 70 of Indiana's 92 counties were dry.  Next post-some impressive natural features in Warren County.


The courthouse as it faces downtown Williamsport

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