Goshen News, Goshen, IN

Local News

July 28, 2013

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




Down the hall, a worn black leather couch can be found against the back wall in the law library.

“It’s called a swooning couch,” Hoffman said, “and I’m told the judges could rest here if they so chose.”

She also informed the group all the law books in the library were converted to microfiche in 1985 and the floor has had to be reinforced to hold the weight of the books.

“That’s 7 1/2 tons of law books (in the library),” she said.


The visitors from Shipshewana, LaGrange, Wakarusa and Goshen learned some other interesting courthouse historical facts like the Neptune fountain placed in the courthouse square in 1912.

It was donated to the city by a Greek confectioner who had a store in Goshen in the early 1900s.

“(The Greek confectioner) did so well and was so grateful to the city, he ordered the fountain from Europe and Neptune is the Greek God of the Sea,” Hoffman said,

Historical facts

There were several cannons and artillery on the grounds prior to World War II that were donated to make ammunition during the war, Hoffman added.

The first courthouse was built in 1833 and torn down in 1868, right after the Civil War.

In 1870, the new three-story courthouse was built with a clock tower at the south end and twice the height of the main building. The entire courthouse square was enclosed by iron rail fencing with eight gates.

A $100,000 reconstruction took place in 1905 with the clock tower being dismantled and the current dome-like-tower added on.

“They used the same bell that rings today,” Hoffman said.

Then, 80 years later, a $1 million renovation took place with the interior of the building restructured to accommodate offices and courtrooms for three courts, clerks offices and probation. The county administration offices were moved to the new building on Second Street in 1985.

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