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Iowa’s historic architecture is invaluable

February 11, 2014
Jessica Rundlett Des Moines , Times-Republican

The Mitchell County Courthouse was torn down last week. It was a red brick, Greek Revival building complete with four columns and a silver-domed cupola. Built in 1858, it was the third oldest courthouse in the state. Now it's nothing more than a memory and a pile of rubble.

Hard-headed, short-sighted county supervisors pushed forward with a plan to raze the courthouse and build new even though a bond referendum did not receive the 60 percent approval required by state law. With renovations, this 19th century building could have been preserved and upgraded for use through the 21st century.

My heart is heavy with the loss of the Mitchell County Courthouse. I did not grow up in the county but acknowledge that our historic architecture is invaluable. Our built environment tells the tale of how the state of Iowa developed and matured. How do we tell our story if we destroy where we came from?

It was their courthouse, but it was a significant part of our state history.

 
 

 

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