by Tom Castaldi
Allen County’s first courthouse was built on the "courthouse square" in 1831 but was so poorly constructed it had to be abandoned a few years later as unsafe. The second courthouse was erected in 1847 by local contractor Samuel Edsall, yet this also proved to be inadequate. The third courthouse was a large brick structure designed by Edwin May of Indianapolis; its cornerstone was laid in May 1861 and the building was in use by July 1862.
|Allen County Courthouse Late 1800s|
On November 17, 1897, the day the cornerstone was set, thousands filled the streets around the court house square to see Governor James A. Mount and his entourage officiate in the ceremony. Louis Peltier, who had been born in the Fort in 1813, was the guest of honor. Designed by local architect Brentwood S. Tolan, the structure was completed on September 23, 1902.
|Laying of the Cornerstone|
Inside, the celebration of civilization and local history continues in brilliant color. Through each of the four entrances the visitor passes the bright pillars of marezzo scagliola an imitation marble that represents the largest collection of this lost art of faux marble in the nation and possibly in the world.
|Hall and Rotunda|
|Interior Rotunda 2nd Floor|
Originally published in Fort Wayne Magazine
“Along the Heritage Trail with Tom Castaldi” – Oct 2007 No. 36
Allen County Historian Tom Castaldi is author of the Wabash & Erie Canal Notebook series; hosts “On the Heritage Trail,” which is broadcast at 6:35 a.m., 8:35 a.m. and 6:30 p.m. Mondays on WBOI, 89.1 FM; and “Historia Nostra” heard on WLYV-1450 AM and WRRO 89.9 FM. Enjoy his previously published columns on the History Center’s blog, “Our Stories,” at history centerfw.blogspot.com.