Goshen News, Goshen, IN

Local News

July 28, 2013

HIDDEN PLACES: Plenty of history inside and out at the Elkhart County Courthouse

GOSHEN — Behind a locked door in the lower level of the Goshen Courthouse, a recent group of visitors got a rare peek into the past.

An underground tunnel connecting the courthouse to the old jail between Third Street was built in 1908 and closed off between the two buildings about 20 to 25 years ago, according to Elkhart County Administrator Tom Byers.

The group had the opportunity to walk through the tunnel up to where it’s blocked off underground. Some of the visitors had to duck their heads in the low passageway that smelled musty and dank.

“My understanding (is) the tunnel was typically used for heating (from the jail building),” said Lin Anglemeyer, court security officer. “But on occasion, if they had someone like (John) Dillinger they took advantage of (the tunnel to transport prisoners).”

Dillinger was never held in the Elkhart County jail.

Anglemeyer flipped the light switches and the tunnel became dark once again.

Marriage vault

Wanda Hoffman, a member of Goshen Historical Society, led the group to the third floor in the marriage license department for a look into another hidden place — the vault where marriage records are stored.

The marriage records, which date back to 1831, are bound in books approximately six to eight inches in diameter with a cloth-type covering to protect the covers. The books are stacked on top of each other in shelves that reach from the floor to the ceiling.

Judge’s chambers

After a walk-through on the third floor, Hoffman took the group into Judge Terry Shewmaker’s chambers where the judge has a painting behind his desk of Abraham Lincoln.

The judge told the group the painting was commissioned while Lincoln was campaigning for the presidency in 1860.

“It was carried as a banner,” Shewmaker said. “It is quite valuable.”

Courtroom

The group also had an opportunity to look around the courtroom used by the judge. There are stained glass windows and painted murals on some of the walls. Acoustic panels are strategically placed around the room.

“I’ve been told the judge can hear someone whispering from the audience,” Hoffman said. “The acoustics are very impressive.”

Text Only
Local News
Parade
Magazine

Click HERE to read all your Parade favorites including Hollywood Wire, Celebrity interviews and photo galleries, Food recipes and cooking tips, Games and lots more.
Poll

With military action and tensions escalating between Russia and Ukraine, as well as Israel and Palestine, are you worried that the U.S. and other nations may get drawn into these conflicts?

Yes, it is a great concern of mine
I’m a little worried, but not too much
No, I’m not worried at all
     View Results
AP Video
Raw: 2 Shells Hit Fuel Tank at Gaza Power Plant Raw: Massive Explosions From Airstrikes in Gaza Giant Ketchup Bottle Water Tower Up for Sale Easier Nuclear Construction Promises Fall Short Kerry: Humanitarian Cease-fire Efforts Continue Raw: Corruption Trial Begins for Former Va Gov. The Carbon Trap: US Exports Global Warming UN Security Council Calls for Gaza Cease-fire Traditional African Dishes Teach Healthy Eating 13 Struck by Lightning on Calif. Beach Baseball Hall of Famers Inducted Israel, Hamas Trade Fire Despite Truce in Gaza Italy's Nibali Set to Win First Tour De France Raw: Shipwrecked Concordia Completes Last Voyage Raw: Sea Turtle Hatchlings Emerge From Nest Raw: Massive Dust Storm Covers Phoenix 12-hour Cease-fire in Gaza Fighting Begins Raw: Bolivian Dancers Attempt to Break Record Raw: Israel, Palestine Supporters Rally in US Raw: Air Algerie Flight 5017 Wreckage