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Butler County Courthouse


The Butler County Courthouse was listed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1977. Portions of the text below were adapted from a copy of the original nomination document. [1] Adaptation copyright © 2009, The Gombach Group.

Description

The Butler County Courthouse, is located in a commercial section of downtown Butler. The present building erected in 1885 was constructed on the site of two earlier courthouses. The first constructed in 1807 was a two story gabled brick building. The second courthouse was built from 1853-1855 from brick and native sandstone with a large central tower. This building was destroyed by fire December 11, 1883. Construction of the third and present Butler County Courthouse began in April 1881). This third courthouse is basically rectangular in shape with a large central tower in the front of the building.

This tower has two double pyramid shaped roofs surrounded by four turrets. Other tower features include four clocks, a half bowl shaped balcony with railing, three long and narrow round-arched windows and rose shaped decorative stonework. Flanking the main tower are two smaller towers with two turrets each. Front porches with columns are located between the outside and center towers. Bands of carved stonework decorate the windows and floor levels of the main facade.

Original dimensions of the building are recorded 125 feet long, 95 feet wide at the rear, 91 feet wide at the front, with a tower 190 feet tall from the ground. In 1907 the north and south walls were extended 15 feet to increase office space.

The outside walls are 22" thick, made of honey-brown colored local sandstone lined with brick. In 1907 a new roof was added with skylights to increase lighting in upper courtroom areas. All exterior alterations and additions have been made with the overall harmony of this building in mind.

The building is basically High Victorian Gothic in design with Romanesque accents seen in the front portico and main entrance, the columned accents and the many rounded arches.

The interior of the Butler County Courthouse has been altered to accommodate needed office space however many of the original offices remain as well as most decorative features.

Significance

The present Butler County Courthouse built in 1835 and the two previous courthouses built on the same site have played an important part in the history of the comity and the community. Shortly after the creation of Butler County in 1800, a site was chosen for the erection of a county courthouse. In all, three courthouse buildings have stood on this same site serving as the focal point of county and community government activities for over 170 years. Over the years the Butler County Courthouse has also served as school, center for community activities such as concerts, speeches and political rallies as well as becoming the depository for county historic documents and artifacts.

Architecturally, the building is interesting for its style and preservation. It is basically High Victorian Gothic in style with many Romanesque accents. These accents being seen in the front portico and main entrance, the columned accents and its rounded arches. The use of local honey-brown sandstone and the color matched mortar adds to its attractiveness.

References

History of Butler County Court, A report by Mrs. Jane Hepting, student of Pitt Law School, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania.

History of Butler County Court, A report by Ms. Jean Larrick, student of Grove City College, Grove City, Pennsylvania.

R. C. Brown, Editor & Compiler, History of Butler County, Pennsylvania, R.C. Brown Publishing Co., 1895. (Located in the files of Mr. Mario Petrio, Veterans Affairs Office, Butler County Courthouse, Butler, Penna.)

James McKee, Editor & Compiler, 20th Century History of Butler & Butler County, Richmond-Arnold Publishing Company, 1909. (Located in the files of Mr. Mario Petrio. Veterans Affairs, Butler County Courthouse.)

  1. MacDonald, Samuel A. and Zacher, Susan M., Butler County Courthouse, nomination document, 1977, National Park Service, National Register of Historic Places, Washington, D.C.

See Map

Street Names: Diamond Street West

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