The Stark County Courthouse

Ohio has a strong tradition of beautiful county courthouses.  Many of these magnificent structures still stand, ready to inspire and delight.

Most of the courthouses were built in the late 1800s or early 1900s, only a few decades after the end of the Civil War.  It was a time when Ohio was growing rapidly, new industries were bursting onto the scene, just-arrived immigrants were flocking to growing cities to work in plants and factories, and every few years a new Buckeye was moving into the White House after being elected President.

The Ohio courthouses reflect the optimistic, striving mood that prevailed during those days.  In most counties where the county seat is a town or small city, the courthouse is the tallest structure in town.  Usually it has a soaring clock tower and includes the kind of architectural flourishes that you would expect in a land of growing wealth where the people were eager to erect impressive landmarks that would demonstrate their vigor and success.

The Stark County Courthouse, in Canton, is one of the finest examples of these remarkable county courthouses.  This fabulous structure features stained glass windows, Roman columns, a carved sandstone pediment representing Commerce, Justice, Industry, and Agriculture, and a soaring, four-sided clock tower.  High atop the clock tower are four large gilded angels called the Trumpeters of Justice.

Over the years, the courthouse was not properly maintained and, is so often the case, the original graceful appearance was altered by ill-advised alterations.  In the 1990s, the structure was returned to its original appearance through extensive renovations.  It now stands, in all its glory, as one of the cornerstones of downtown Canton.

2 thoughts on “The Stark County Courthouse

  1. I was testifying in the Washington County Courthouse (Marietta, Ohio) last week. This is another of the interesting Ohio county courthouses, built in 1902. There is an interesting design on the main floor of the building that caused me to do a “double take.” They have these inlaid tile designs that look like swastikas all over the floor. Of course, this courthouse was built long before Hitler and the Third Reich came to power in the 1930s. Anyway, the county has put up signs explaining that these designs embedded in the floor are not swastikas, but are in fact an old Indian symbol. Now I’m going to see if I can Google my way to an explanation of the Indian symbol.

    As always, thanks for the never ending buffet of Webner House posts.


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