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Pike County Courthouse


The Pike County Courthouse was listed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1979. Portions of the text below were adapted from a copy of the original nomination document. [1] Adaptation copyright © 2009, The Gombach Group.

Description

The Pike County Courthouse is a two and one-half story brick structure with mansard roof projecting pedimented front piece and square, frame cupola. The wide frieze and boxed cornice are ornately decorated with brackets. The wide mansard is pierced by Palladian-like openings. Originally blind round windows were interspersed between the Palladian-like windows. Ornate balustrades also once topped the roof. The square cupola has two round arched windows of eight lights flanked by pairs of pilasters. The bell-shaped cap once had small rectangular windows and balustrade, the cap is undecorated today.

Windows in this eight-bay by six-bay courthouse are elongated two-over-two. First-story windows have segmental brick arches with stone keystones. Second-story windows have rounded brick arches also with stone keystones. The projecting front piece has two doorways with double doors. Each doorway has a segmental brick arch. Set in a recessed panel the second story has two large four-over-four windows with ornate fanlights and round brick arches.

Two large staircases lead from the first floor entrance hall to the courtroom, Judge's chambers and law library on the second floor. The first floor contains the county Commissioners office, a conference room, Treasurer's office and Prothonotary's office.

Significance

Pike County was formed March 26, 1814 and named for General Zebulon Pike who was killed in Canada in 1813.

As the act creating the county provided that Milford could only be the county-seat on condition of the payment of at least fifteen hundred dollars by her people towards the erection of public buildings, they went immediately to work and raised that sum.

The work of erecting the Pike County Courthouse was begun in 1814 and the stone building still standing and used as a jail was completed in 1815. It was substantially constructed of native boulders hewn square on the outer side. The contractors were Dan Dimmick, Jacob Quick and Samuel Anderson. At first there was no bell upon the Pike County Courthouse, and when the judges and lawyers and persons interested were to be summoned, the sheriff mounted the cupola and blew most piercing blasts upon a huge tin horn. This was superseded by a huge triangle, upon which the sheriff or a tipstaff dealt resounding blows that were not unmusical, and this, in turn, gave way in 1844 or 1845 to the bell which for many years announced at proper seasons that justice was about to be judicially administered.

This building served as Pike County Courthouse and jail until 1873, when the present court house was constructed, and the county offices were within its walls until 1851, when a small brick building was erected in front of the site occupied by the present Pike County Courthouse. This was built under contract by George P. Heller. It served its purpose until after the completion of the courthouse and was sold in 1874 to John Gaillard, who subsequently sold to H.B. Wells. It was removed.

The present handsome brick Pike County Courthouse, containing all of the county offices and a commodious court room, was built in the years 1872-73, the first action being taken at the February and September Sessions of court in 1871.

The contract for the foundations was let to S.S. Van Auken, but afterwards rescinded and the work was done by the commissioners and sub-contractors.

The contract for building was let March 2, 1872, to A D. Brown, for $26,096. He was afterwards allowed considerable sums for extra work. The cost of this edifice as completed has been, after careful computation by competent persons, fixed at about $45,000.

The people of Milford raised about $4000, purchased two town lots adjoining the public square and donated them to Pike County as a proper site for the building.

This building has been the seat of government for Pike County from 1874 to the present. Built in a French Renaissance style, the Pike County Courthouse is a fine compliment to the town of Milford.

Reference

Mathews, A. History of Wayne, Pike and Monroe Counties. 1886, p.836-37.

  1. George J. Fluhr, Pike County Courthouse, nomination document, 1978, National Park Service, National Register of Historic Places, Washington, D.C.

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