With construction started in the Spring of 1888 and completed in November of 1890, the Old Vanderburgh County Courthouse was ready for occupancy by county government in early 1891. Designed by architect Henry W. Wolters of Louisville, Kentucky and constructed by the Charles Pearce & Company of Indianapolis, this 19th century German baroque architectural masterpiece cost only $379,450 to build; it is estimated it would cost over $40 million to build today. The Old Courthouse occupies an entire city block, bounded by Court, Fourth, Vine and Fifth Streets, with each side being encrusted with magnificent sculpture and stone carvings in Indiana limestone. The fourteen main statues of human figures are the work of Franz Engelsmann, who studied under the great German masters before setting up his studio in Chicago. In addition, carvings of vegetables, fruits, and flowers indigenous to the area adorn the capital of the forty-eight pairs of pilasters around the entire building.
The Advanced Placement American History Class at Evansville Harrison High School prepared this description with a grant from Youth Resources. Used by permission.
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