Road Trips

On the square in Crown Point

Margaret and I met her sister and her sister’s husband for lunch one Saturday at a place that’s about halfway between our homes: Crown Point, a town in northwest Indiana. None of us had ever been. It surprised us how nice it was and how much there was to do on the town square.

Memo to cities and towns everywhere: You may think planting trees throughout your downtown makes everything look nicer, but it blocks the view of your historic buildings. So cut it out. This the Lake County Courthouse, completed in 1878.

Lake County Courthouse

Lake County Courthouse

These life-size figurines were inexplicably on the lawn.

Figurines on the lawn

The courthouse isn’t used as a courthouse anymore; those functions have moved to a new complex a couple miles north. Today the old courthouse is filled with shops. We toured the basement shops — apparently this used to be the jail.

Lake County Courthouse catacombs

Lake County Courthouse catacombs

Lake County Courthouse catacombs

We had lunch at a pub a couple blocks north of the square and then hit the antique shops around the square. Every storefront had some sort of business in it. That’s not always the case in other Indiana towns with squares like this one. In Indiana, most small towns have struggled for years.

Crown Point square

Crown Point square

I have to think a key to Crown Point’s success is that it’s in a county adjacent to Illinois and is part of the Chicago area. Plenty of people live in the Indiana side of “the Region” and commute to Chicago to work.

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Exploring the Boone County Courthouse

Exploring the Boone County Courthouse
Nikon N90s, 28-80mm f/3.3-5.6G AF Nikkor
Fujifilm Superia X-tra 400 (at EI 200)

Early Ford Explorers are mighty rare now thanks to Cash for Clunkers almost a decade ago. And this is a very early one, wearing its first “face” (headlights and grille). It’s from the early 1990s. It’s hard to believe that’s 25 or more years ago now.

Margaret and I had just taken a photo walk in Lebanon, the seat of justice in Boone County, Indiana, and had stopped on the square for a pint of stout at the local brewery. We sat in the window and had a good view of the courthouse.

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Film Photography, Preservation

single frame: Exploring the Boone County Courthouse



Due North

Due North
iPhone 6S

I had reason to be in the Boone County Courthouse recently. (See an exterior photo in this post.) As Indiana courthouses go, it’s a relatively new one, completed in 1911.

At the center of its main floor tiles were arranged with an arrow pointing north. I always wonder how accurate such markers are. Given the courthouse’s placement on the city’s downtown street grid, this arrow points in a northerly direction, at least.

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Photography, Preservation

single frame: Due North



Fulton County Courthouse

Fulton County Courthouse
Argus A2B
Foma Fomapan 100

In Rochester, Indiana, on the Michigan Road, stands this Romanesque Revival county courthouse.

Photography, Preservation

Johnson Co Courthouse

Johnson County Courthouse
Kodak EasyShare Z730 Zoom

That digital Kodak was born to take photos of brick buildings against blue skies!

Photography, Road Trips

Indiana courthouses

My trips along Indiana’s old roads have taken me past many of its courthouses, and I usually stop to photograph them. It seems like Indiana experienced a courthouse-building boom in the 1800s, with many counties building, razing, building, razing, and building again in those years. But with few exceptions, that boom had ended by about 1900.

Most of these courthouses are grand structures. I shudder to think of what a modern courthouse would look like, given our bent to build as cheaply as possible now.

Fulton County, Rochester. I was passing through on the old Michigan Road one day as the sun was low in the sky. It bathed this 1895 limestone building in a delicious light.

Fulton County Courthouse

Clay County, Brazil. Completed in 1914, this courthouse on the National Road boasts an F-86 jet on its grounds. See a closer view of the jet here.

Clay County Courthouse

Vigo County, Terre Haute. I’ve tried to photograph this courthouse a bunch of times and have concluded that you just can’t get a good angle on it. I did get a nice frontal image of it with my Konica C35 in 2012 (see it here) even though I couldn’t back up enough to fit the whole thing into the frame. The building was completed in 1888, faces what is now US 41, and borders what was the original alignment of the National Road.

Vigo County Courthouse

Jefferson County, Madison. I came upon this 1855 courthouse shortly after fire severely damaged it, leveling its dome. Restoration efforts had begun, and they have since been completed. I might get my chance to see it again this year in its completed state as I’m considering revisiting the Michigan Road, which Madison anchors.

Jefferson County Courthouse

Orange County, Paoli. This 1847 building reminds me of something you’d see on a southern plantation. It’s a commanding presence on Paoli’s square along the Dixie Highway.

Courthouse at Paoli

Lawrence County, Bedford. I can’t tell you much about this courthouse other than it appears to have been completed in 1872. It stands on an old alignment of US 50.

Lawrence County Courthouse

Jackson County, Brownstown. It was tough to photograph this 1870 courthouse because of its tree-filled lawn. It’s on an old alignment of US 50.

Jackson County Courthouse

Monroe County, Bloomington. This is another tough courthouse to photograph head on because of trees, so I moved around to its east side for this photo. It was completed in 1908 and stands on the Dixie Highway.

Monroe County courthouse

Wayne County, Richmond. This imposing courthouse on the National Road was completed in 1893.

Wayne County Courthouse

Decatur County, Greensburg. Famous for the tree in the clock tower, this courthouse on the Michigan Road was completed in 1861 and expanded in 1994.

Decatur County Courthouse

Fountain County, Covington. A real latecomer among Indiana courthouses, it was completed in 1937 and was built by the Public Works Administration, a New Deal program.

Fountain County Courthouse

Parke County, Rockville. I took this photo early in my road-tripping days, when I was out exploring US 36 and the Pike’s Peak Ocean-to-Ocean Highway. I was really going more for a streetscape. This courthouse was completed in 1882.

Parke County Courthouse

St. Joseph County, South Bend. South Bend is fortunate that both its current (1897) and former (1853) courthouses still stand. This is the current courthouse; the former stood here but was moved 30 yards to the northwest. I surely wish I had tipped my camera up just a bit to fit the entire flagpole in the frame.

St. Jostph County Courthouse

Johnson County, Franklin. This 1882 courthouse stands on old US 31, which before that was the Madison State Road. Here’s another photo in which I cut off the top of the flagpole. D’oh! I love how the blue sky makes this building really pop.

Franklin, IN

I look forward to seeing more of Indiana’s courthouses as I keep exploring the state’s highways.