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Jasper County

 

Jasper County is named for William Jasper, who was a Sergeant in the American Revolutionary War.

 

Surrounding County Courthouses: 

N – Story County and Marshall County

E – Poweshiek County

S – Mahaska County and Marion County

W – Polk County

 

Created:  January 13, 1846                    Map of Iowa highlighting Jasper County

County Seat:

Newton  1846 – present

 

County Courthouse – Newton

 

Location:  101 1st Street North / 1st Avenue East

Built:  1909 – 1911

Style:  Neo-Classical or Beaux Arts

Architect:  Proudfoot & Bird of Des Moines

Contractor:  James Rowson & Son

 

Description: The building faces north and is a three story Indiana limestone and concrete structure with modified Georgian Colonial detail. The building is located on landscaped grounds in the center of Newton. The first story has horizontal stone with the north entrance having a small balcony above. Four large columns rise from the second story to the top of the third story. A cornice projects below the roof line. On the roof center rises a large octagonal dome with clock and round dome. In the interior, the building has a cross hall plan and is decorated with ceramic tile and marble wainscoting. The rotunda at the center of the building has paintings, by Edgar Cameron of Chicago in the four arches of the pendentive dome of the rotunda. Two stairways lead to the second story and third story. The Grand Courtroom and jury rooms are located on the north side of the third story. The courtroom is thirty-seven feet by forty-seven feet, and nineteen feet in height and has a stained glass skylight at the center. There is a small County District Court courtroom at the southwest corner and the County Magistrate Court courtroom is located at the southeast corner. The building houses the County District Court of the 5A Judicial District. The building was renovated in 1986 and in 2011. In 2022 further restoration work was completed by Evergreen Architectural Arts. To the northwest is the County Administration Building.

 

Note:  In the frieze on each side of the building are inscriptions denoting the high purpose to which the use of the building is dedicated. On the east side is: Whatsoever Ye Would That Men Should Do To You, Do Even So To Them; On the south side is: Judge Righteously Between Every Man and His Brother; on the west side is: Erected By The People Of Jasper County. Dedicated To Justice And Good Government; and on the north side is: Where Law Ends, Anarchy Begins.

On the second story at each side of the rotunda are two Doric columns, eight in all, between which hallways lead to the suites of office rooms. The third story is similar to the second story, the marble columns being of the more ornate ionic design. Above these columns, in the four arches of the pendentive dome of the rotunda, are four emblematic paintings, by Edgar Cameron of Chicago, and each are illustrative of some incident in Jasper County’s history. On the south side is a scene of a prairie fire and a herd of buffalo: on the east side is a group of United States soldiers, camped on the banks of the Skunk River, west of Newton in the 1840′s: on the north is a scene of the departing Indian and the coming of the white man, his cabin and domestic surroundings; and, on the west side may be seen the town square, courthouse, and soldier boys leaving for the front in Civil War days, and the teams and the relatives of the newly enlisted men, with waving flags, as they bid home and loved ones “good-bye”. These paintings are all genuine works of art and add materially to the charm of the building.

 

See:  The architect, Proudfoot and Bird also designed courthouses in Dallas CountyGreene County, Pocahontas County and Polk County.

 

See:  The contractor, James Rowson and Son, also constructed courthouses in Dallas County and Johnson County.

 

See:  The 5A Judicial District includes Dallas County, Guthrie County, Madison County, Marion County and Warren County.

 

See:  National Register of Historic Places – Jasper County Courthouse

 

History:  The county was created in 1846 and Newton was selected as the county seat. The court met in the home of Matthew D Springer in 1846. The first courthouse was a small frame structure built of green native lumber by Evan Adamson at a cost of $87.50 in 1847. The second courthouse was a two story structure built by John Hyde in 1857 at a cost of $26,000. The building was faced with white colored limestone and the walls were built of brick. The first courthouse was sold to Caleb Lamb and removed to his farm near Newton. The third and present courthouse was constructed in 1909 to 1911 at a cost of $200,000.

 

 

County Courthouse – Newton

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Mural – Town square and courthouse

 

 

Mural – Prairie fire and buffalo

 

 

Mural – Indian departing

 

 

Mural – Soldiers camped on Skunk River

 

 

 

 

County District Court courtroom

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

County District Court small courtroom

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

County District Court courtroom

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

County Administration Building – Newton

 

 

Photos taken 2008, 2012 and 2024