Wayne County Courthouse

History of Wayne County Courthouse

Picture by Doug Goss

Year Built:   1890-1893
Architect:   James W McLaughlin
Construction:   Aaron G Campfield & Co.
Cost:   $287,000.00

After trips to Cleveland, Lima, Findlay and Troy in Ohio, the Wayne County commissioners decided in 1890 to replace the courthouse in Richmond -- a two-story brick building built in the early 1870s --with a Romanesque courthouse of grand proportions. It would become the largest Romanesque courthouse in Indiana.

The low bid came from Aaron Campfield at $274,425, excluding electrical work. Campfield had built courthouses in Randolph County (1875-1877) and Hamilton County (1878-1879), but neither were as complex nor as large as this job. By the time the project was finished, the total cost probably exceeded $400,000. Architecture scholar Paul Goeldner estimates the actual cost probably was $435,807 -- making it a major public works project of the 1890s.

The Cincinnati architect, James W. McLaughlin, designed the building, and it required 600 car loads of Indiana limestone and 3 million bricks to construct it. The project employed 125 stone cutters on site to cut the stone to fit, and Campfield used steam powered hoists to lift the stone into place. The interior includes a grand marble staircase and an open well surrounded by open galleries. Wainscoting is marble and the woodwork is oak.

In 1976-1978 the county refurbished the courthouse and completed construction of a new administration building just east of the 1893 building. The new building is L-shaped with sloping glass walls and now houses most of the county offices.