Dubuque County Courthouse
Dubuque County Courthouse
|Location||720 Central Avenue, Dubuque, Iowa|
|Architect||Heer, Fridolin & Son|
|Architectural style||Renaissance, Romanesque|
|MPS||County Courthouses in Iowa TR (AD)|
|NRHP Reference #||71000298 |
|Added to NRHP||June 23, 1971|
The Dubuque County Courthouse is located in Dubuque, Iowa. The current building was built in 1891 to replace an earlier building that was built in 1839. The courthouse is a dominant landmark in the downtown Dubuque area, located at Seventh Street and Central Avenue.
A number of county government offices are located at the courthouse. These include the county auditor, treasurer, and attorney. The Iowa District Court for Dubuque County, Iowa is located at the courthouse, along with the offices for the district court judges.
The Dubuque County Sheriff is located at the law enforcement complex, which is across the street from the courthouse. The Sheriff's department shares the facility with the city of Dubuque's police force. Due to recent expansion of the law enforcement center, teleconferencing between the court house and the jail is now an option, as are holding hearings directly in the center itself.
The Dubuque County Courthouse is on the National Register of Historic Places. It was one of the first buildings in the Dubuque area so honored. Fridolin Heer - who designed several other notable buildings in Dubuque, including Sacred Heart Church - was chosen as the architect for this project. Heer decided to use Beaux-Arts architecture - a large and grand style with a great amount of detail, large columns, elaborate moldings, and free standing statuary in the design of the courthouse. The adjacent Dubuque County Jail is a National Historic Landmark.
The building is 88 feet (27 m) by 125 feet (38 m) in size. A 190-foot (58 m) high central tower is capped with a bronze statue of Lady Justice that is 14 feet (4.3 m) tall. Other pewter statues are also on the building. Several other statues were taken down during World War I and melted down to provide material for the war effort. The two circular architectural parts on top of the courthouse are gold leafed. This was done when renovations of the building were completed in the late part of the 20th century.
Over the years, a number of renovations were done to the building. Many of these renovations were done in the 1980s. A unique five story glass encased elevator was installed - it is one of the few glass-walled elevators currently in the city. Ground floor entrances replaced the second floor entrance on Central Ave. A granite fountain was placed on the ground floor. Plaster was removed from the walls to show the original brick.
On the outside, a controversial gold leaf coat was added to dome on the central tower. However, the initial application of gold leafing did not hold up well under various weather conditions, so it took further work to repair the leafing on the dome.
In the aftermath of the murder of Federal Judge's Joan Humphrey Lefkow's mother and husband in Illinois, and the murder of Judge Rowland Barnes in Atlanta, Georgia the county reevaluated the security of the court house. The county took several measures to tighten security at the building. This included the closing of all but one entrance to the courthouse, requiring visitors to have their possessions screened, and requiring visitors to pass through a metal detector in order to visit the courthouse.