Saturday, September 12, 2015

Old Washington County Courthouse

It appears to have taken me moving out of West Bend to finally get in the door of the Old Washington County Courthouse during daylight, with a camera, to just have some fun.
The old courthouse--how a historical museum, along with the former jail next door--is a stunner. Its creamy brick walls glow a soft yellow in the sunlight, set off by red roof tiles and white gingerbread trim.
Inside, the first floor is devoted to rooms filled with historical collections--displays devoted to Native American life, European immigration, food production, and the military service of local residents, among them. In the "Heroes Remembered" room about the military, one item on display is a ladies' blouse made from camouflage parachute silk. It's a long and interesting story that accompanies it, and author Ernest Hemingway even has a part! 

The second floor also houses some smaller rooms with various and sometimes changeable exhibits, but the centerpiece of the old courthouse is the single courtroom that was used for "circuit court" twice a year (in spring and fall) from 1890 when it was built until 1962 when a newer, "modern" (and much, much homelier) courthouse was built in West Bend. The old courtroom--dating back to when judges seemed to uniformly be old white guys with deep scowls and muttonchop sideburns--features 24-foot ceilings, stained glass windows, and a judicial bench that's quite imposing.

So enjoy! And find out more at the Washington County Historical Society.


1 comment:

Deanna Anthony said...

Awesome pictures! I love seeing places like this!