The Old Courthouse
Fourth Street Entrance
The three sculptures sitting high on the roofline represent the quest for truth and knowledge. The center statue is wearing a crown and holding a crusader's sword, which symbolizes justice. To her left is one of the two male figures on the building. He is holding a tablet in one hand, while the other hand rests on a stack of books. The third statue is holding a torch and her other hand is also resting on a stack of books.
In thebelow these figures, is the State Seal of Indiana. The scene on the Seal consists of a hunter and a buffalo in the foreground, with a background of trees. There are two muses resting on the of the doorway, which is directly below the State Seal. One of the represents music by holding a harp and the other represents the arts by holding a palette.
Fifth Street Entrance
Thisis similar to the Fourth Street facade. Again, three sculptures look down at the viewer, however these figures represent justice. The center figure holds a staff in one hand and the scale of justice in the other. A serpent is intertwined with her hair. The statue on her left is holding a tablet and the other statue is holding a torch
The State Seal and the two muses also appear on this facade, but these muses represent something different. One muse is holding a bust and mallet to symbolize sculpture while the other symbolizes literature with a book in her hand.
Court Street Entrance
This facade is different than the previous facade. On this roofline an eagle with open wings is perched on a shield. The symbol of the eagle is the U.S. National emblem and the use of the eagle comes from the Ancient Romans. The Roman numerals tell the date of construction directly below the eagle.
Beside the Roman numerals, there are two seated personifications. The personification on the left represents industry by holding a cogwheel of industry and in the other hand is a hammer resting on an anvil. A locomotive is by her side, which represents a mode of transportation at the time of construction. The other personification represents agriculture by holding a plow and at her side sits a beehive and a container of vegetables.
Instead of having muses above the doorway, this facade has cherubs. The one on the left is a female holding a nest, which shows she is the caregiver. The other cherub is a male holding a bow and a quiver, which shows he is the hunter.
Vine Street Entrance
This facade is like the Court Street facade with only two differences. One difference is the cherubs. The male cherub is on the left and the female is on the right. Another difference would be the personifications. The personification on the left represents commerce and river trade by having her hand rest upon a part of a boat, chain, and anchor. To symbolize the riverfront, barrels and crates surround her. The other personification represents knowledge and learning. She is holding a tablet and scrolls are lying by her feet.
The Old Courthouse, located in downtown Evansville, displays many aspects of-style architecture, which in turn was derived from and Greco-Roman architecture. Among the areas that made up the Baroque period as a whole, the Old Courthouse best exemplifies that architecture seen in the French Classical Baroque. Perhaps most obvious of all the features of the Courthouse that demonstrates this influence is the shape of the building itself. The projection of on the sides of both the 4th Street and 5th Street wings, as well as the way the central part of the building stands out from the wings, creates a moving shape that keeps the eye from settling on one point of the architecture. This goes back to the goal of Baroque architecture to foster emotion and drama. The clear use of the Renaissance and Greco-Roman architectural vocabulary and the fact that projections occur in rectilinear and predictable fashion also lend a French classical Baroque feel.
Another clear aspect of Southern Baroque style is the way in which the stairs leading into all four main entrances narrow as they move towards the door, inviting people to enter, much like Southern Baroque church's strove to. Furthermore, there is a mixing of Greek orders and Roman style, such as the use of both, or fake , and , which are located to either side of the entrances on Vine and Court Streets, as well as the clock tower. Another aspect related to this is the use of both rectangular windows, and those topped with , a feature made famous by the Romans. Above these two entrances, are located cherubs. Besides the cherubs, other mythical creatures, griffins are present above the cherubs. The presence of these mythical creatures demonstrates the emotional appeal of Southern Baroque architecture.
At the very top of the entrance located along 4th Street is a statue wearing a crown and holding a sword; to her left, a woman holding a torch; to her right, a man holding a tablet. These figures perhaps represent the Southern Baroque vision of government, learning, and justice personified. Below these figures are found two women playing lyres. Above the entrance located on 5th Street is a statue of the goddess Justice, holding the famous scales, as well as a scepter topped by a hand with two fingers extended. To Justice's left and right are women clad in togas. Below these figures is a seal that has worn mostly away, and two women. The woman on the viewer's right is holding a book, while the one on the left is holding a bust. Although the figures portrayed in the statuary are generally at rest, they still are representative of the use of statues within Southern Baroque architecture.
The interior of the courthouse is just as remarkable as the exterior. As one walks into one of the four entrances, there is a floor of black and white marble tiles in a checkerboard pattern. Then one notices the pink Georgia marble wainscoting on the walls. One would also notice the stairwells. The stairs are black slate and the wrought iron railings have brass handrails.
As one walks toward the center of the building, the rotunda comes into view. The rotunda is directly under the bell tower and is three stories tall and toped with a. The not only support the dome, but also allow for the four archways on each floor. Near the rotunda are vertical shafts that allow sunlight to enter from the skylights.
There were originally eight courtrooms in the building, but there is only one fully preserved courtroom. There are pilasters on the courtroom walls, but they are not decorated like the pilasters on the exterior of the building. The judge's bench has a carved crusader's sword on the front, which is similar to the crusader's sword that one of the exterior sculptures is holding. Wedgwood Hall was once one of these courtrooms. Over the years, this room has been renovated so the public can rent the room for numerous occasions. The other rooms are offices that the public may also rent.
Second Court House, 1857
In 1857, Evansville's second courthouse was built by James Roquet and later rebuilt by Francis D. Allen. This courthouse was located on the corner of Main and Third Street. The facade of the Palladian style courthouse is similar to the facade of the Parthenon.
They each have Doric columns, an, and a . A difference between the two is the courthouse has molding on the and the Parthenon does not. Another difference is the on the Parthenon has and and the courthouse has a plain frieze.
The Ancient Greeks may have influenced the architect by giving him the idea of using a facade that resembles the facade of the Parthenon. The architect may have been influenced to use the plain frieze by The Ancient Romans.
A carvedwraps around the bottom exterior of the building. There are Doric pilasters, set at equal distances apart, that also wrap around the exterior of the building. What makes this rectangular building have a unique look is the dome and the .
In 1891, the people of Vanderburgh County decided this building was not large enough to accommodate the rapidly growing city. They then demolished the courthouse and built their third courthouse, which is The Old Vanderburgh County Courthouse.