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.

Mosquito In Our Midst

I’m all for public art, but I found this piece unappealing.  Called “ShutterBug,” and created by PR Miller, it can be found perched on its long, spindly legs on a street corner next to a parking lot in downtown Canton, Ohio.  It looks like a mosquito rising from a fetid pool of water, ready to slake its thirst for blood.  Just looking at it made me want to slap the back of my neck.