Saturday, March 27, 2010

Sioux City Courthouse

A while back I drove to Sioux City to see the Woodbury County courthouse. This is the most unique and incredible courthouse in Iowa. It was designed by Purcell and Elmslie -- two students of the Frank Lloyd Wright School of Prairie design. This courthouse was completed in 1918. You see references to World War I throughout the building.

This was THE picture I wanted to get. It is a distinctive light fixture on the second floor with the dome in the background.



Light many Prairie School Design buildings, they are not always over powering from the outside. One of the first things you do notice about this style are the windows.



There is often ornamental work on the outside of the building.



Here's a closer look at one of the doorways.



There are four large murals above the main lobby. In this image you can see a drinking fountain - it has a blue background.



Here's a closer look.



These are the steps going to the second floor. If you look really close, you can see the flags of seven countries. These were Allies in World War I.



You can see the flags in this photograph. During World War II, the Japanese and Italian flags were covered with black shoe polish. It was just very recently the flags of those two countries were revealed again.



Here's what a courtroom looks like. You won't see many like this. Notice the jury box is made up of four rows of three chairs each.



This skylight is the courtroom.



How 'bout these windows? I believe there are four courtrooms that look like this one.



Of particular interest was this display case filled with musical instruments.



Look at the sign.



The detail in the large dome is incredible. This dome is made of solid glass -- no plastic here!



Photographs do not do a building like this justice (pun intended). But they give you an idea. As Johanna would say, I was completely gobsmacked by this building.

Thanks for stopping by.

9 comments:

Jo said...

Omigoodness, Russell, I am completely gobsmacked too. Those lights and the windows... and the dome! Beautiful.

I remember my friend Lesley, the designer, explaining the difference between Art Nouveau and Art Deco, and she said the Prairie School incorporated a little bit of both, but was unique in its own style.

What a magnificent building. It's a treasure!

Maureen said...

Gorgeous, thanks for sharing this.

Cloudia said...

Wow, I'd love to visit your wonderful State!




Aloha from Hawaii my Friend!


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Pauline said...

so glad you trot around with a camera - we're the better for it! Thanks for sharing.

Hilary said...

Geesh, Russell. You're going to have a bunch of us wanting to visit Iowa and you'll be stuck as tour guide. You make it appear so interesting. I'd love to visit someday. Thanks for the photographic tour of this beautiful building.

LC said...

Russell- I graduated from Westmar College in LeMars and we spent a lot of time in Sioux City... I never knew this was there!! Wow... Larry

Marge said...

I am blown away by that skylight! And those windows and the lighting are incredible. Thanks for sharing. I lived in Iowa for 11 years, but I guess when one is in grade school, Prairie Design isn't one of the usual passions! Now, I too, will have to make a trip to Iowa to check this building out.

Thanks for sharing! Spring has arrived in Minnesota. I hope Iowa is also enjoying this weather!

Cedar said...

When I was driving back to Seattle from Jersey and I planned my trip the one of the states I did not want to go through was Iowa, I think I really should have did some research before making that decision, from what you show on your Blog I missed a good deal of great stuff to see. All this because I wanted to see the Spam factory and I don't even eat Spam.

Gary Pope-Sears, Fallon, NV said...

Your photos complemented those I saw in the current edition of American Bungalow where the courthouse was profiled. Fabulous photos and captions. Thanks!