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Henry County Genealogical Services

The Henry County Circuit Court Room
1868 - 2001

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    Henry County, IN has one of oldest Circuit Courtrooms still in continues use today in Indiana. It was first put in use in 1868 when the new Courthouse was nearing completion after a fire had destroyed the previous courthouse in 1864, so the old court room has been in use for nearly one hundred and thirty-three years.
    When the new Courthouse was built in 1865-1869 great pains were taken to make sure that the new one was built with best available material and designed to be fire proof. The Circuit Court room was finished with the finest materials available at that time. The woodwork has been grooved to resemble a fluted column and behind the judge's bench, there is a pediment resembling a Greek temple held in place by four Corinthian columns. Above it all is a gilded eagle with outspread wings, it is not of conventional design but a very realistic eagle, feathers and all. When the courtroom was first finished there was a fresco painting on the ceiling done by an Italian artist who was paid $1400 for his work. There also were paintings on the walls but a few years ago they were painted over to cover the smoke stains from the old coal furnace that was used to heat the building. The old rail woodwork and other parts used to be finished in a dark varnish finish, most have been painted over, which takes away from the former beauty of the courtroom. It is still one of the prime examples of the old courtrooms of years ago. Hopefully when it is no longer in use, after they finish the new courts building sometime this year, it can be restored to it's former glory.

© 2001 UEB

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