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Title: County Capitol Dedicated
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The handsome new capitol building of Warren county was dedicated with appropriate exercises at Williamsport Saturday. The program as published last week was carried out with the exception that Hon. John W. Kern, who was to have made the principal address, could not be present on account of illness. Jedge Rabb of Indianapolis and Hon. Ele Stansbury of Williamsport filled the time most acceptably. At the evening session Judge Saunderson made an address and short talks were given by the members of the bar. Two bands, one from Newtown, and one from Lafayette, enlivened the occasion with street concerts. A large crowd was present and seemed to fully enjoy the day.

The present handsome building is Warren County's fifth temple of justice, strictly speaking Away bak just after the state was admitted to the union, Dec 11th 1816, a town was started on what was known as the Cicot reservation. This was a tract of land granted by the government to a French trader, who had considerable influence with the Indians of this vicinity. This town was located just north of the Attica levee. The rude court of the day was held then at provate residences. In 1829, Wm. Henry Harrison who came into possession of a large tract of land where Williamsport now stands, established that twon and the seat of justice was moved, where it has since remained. A log courthouse and jail was built on the first hill up from the river on what is now the corner of Monroe and Bluff streets, one block west of where the old woolen mill was located. This was a primitive affair but was used for many years for the purpose for which it was built. It is said that 6hte jail was built of great logs and had but one opening-a trap door in the roof. Prisoners were dropped in from the top and when their time was up a ladder was put down for them to make an ascent. This was literally speaking, Warren's first court house and jail.

Some years before the war, the town becoming more dignified, a brick court house was built across the street from where the old delapitated business block now stands in Old Town. The building did not contain the county offices, these being in two separate buildings, aslso of brick, on either side of the buildiing proper. A brick Jailor's residence and stone jail was also built at the rear of the court house. This building sufficed until 1870, and Judge LaRue was the judge, we believe who was then presiding on the bench. In 1870, a new building was begun just on top of the hill to the west of the old building This, for its day, was a handsome structure of brick and sandstone and the court house destroyed by fire Jan. 20, 1907, was an almost exact duplicate of it. This building was completed and dedicated in 1872 and, we believe, Judge Davidson was at eh time preside on the bench. The old jail was still continued in use and the old county offices, then used for other purposes, continued to stand for several years.

Shortly after the, then new court house was built the town of Williamsport began to move away from the riverto the Wabash railroad one mile distant, and complaint was then made of the inaccessibility of the county building and agitation for its removal to the new part of town begun. Consequently, at an expense of some $80,000 the builidng was torn down in 1886 and rebuilt (as we said before in almost exact duplicate) on the present site in the new part of town. Judge Rabb was then on the bench in 1907 and served for 24 years, being elected to Appellate bench in 1907. This building was in use from 1886 until January 20, 1907, when it was almost entirely destroyed by fire. From the ashes of this edifice arouse the present and handsome structure dedicated last Saturday.

This new and modern building is built of pressed brick, Bedford sone and marble, is of beautiful design and very commodious. It was erected at a cost of $115,000, which includes the elegant massive quatered oak furniture throughout all the offices and court room. The floors are of tile, of handome pattern, while the concrete walls are wainscoated with marble. The stairways are of iron with marble steps and the building throughout is almost entirely fireproof, only the door and window easings and the necessary furniture will be made of wood. The building is heated by steam while the heating plant is located some distance away in a plant adjoining the new jail and sheriff's residence, also handsome buildings, to the east of the court house.

In the lower story is found a rest room for the ladies with toilet rooms attached, the county surveyor's office, the G. A. R. room and the janitor's room. On the next floor is the Treasurer's office. Auditor's office, Commissioner's room, Clerk's office, Recorder's office, and Sheriff's office, besides the broad corridors running east and west and north and south. On the third floor is found the Judge's private office, County Superintendent's office; Jury room, Ladies waiting room, Court Stenographer's office, Law Library and Court Room.

The offices are handsomely furnished with quartered oak tables and chairs, rugs, patent roller bearing book shelves and all the needful accessories. The court room, which is very large, is seated with chairs, while behind the bar railing the Judge's raised dias, sheriff's desk, Jury box, prisoners dock, attorneys' tables and chairs, all done in oak and leather in massive designs, are on rollers and their position may be changed at will. The walls are handsomely frescoed and we have Judge Rabb's statement that no finer view can be had from any court room windows in the state and the view is only equalled by the Posey county court house, which sits upon the hills overlooking the Ohio River.

The building is surmounted by an Oriental dome from which a beautiful view of the Wabash valleyland surrounding country may be had though the view is now wise different from the former building, the tower of which was considerably higher. The new edifice is lighted throughout with electricity.

The cut we use, being halftone and adapted to a finer grade of newspaper work, does not do justice to the handsome new edifice.

The officials on duty at the time of the dedication are as follows:
Judge...........Hon. Jas. T. Saunderson
Prosecuting Attorney.......J.J. Hall
Court Bailiff........Henry C. Johnson
County Commissioners-Runic W. Alexander, Pres.; Charles Lowe and *F.B. Ogborn.
*A.J. Mckinzie, one of the commissioner to let the contract die before its completion and Mr. Ogborn is serving unexpired term.
County Attorney........Hon. Ele Stansbury
Couney Council-T. Cor. Fleming, J.H. Crawford, Ed C. Davis, P.W. Fleming, J. N. Rhode, J. F. Hildenbrand, C.V. Cunningham
County Treasurer.......W.H. Stephens
County Auditor........Robert L. Winks
County Clerk........Ernest Grey
County Recorder..........John H. Wilson
County Sheriff........Daniel Tague
County Superintendent........H.H. Evans
County Surveyor........Rupert Gregory
County Coroner........J.D. Bader

Date: 11/26/1908
Origin: West Lebanon Gazette
Record ID: 00002598
Type: Periodical
Source Archive: Warren County Historical Society
Date Entered: 8/10/2001
Entered By: Amber M. Knipe

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