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Switzerland County

Courthouse

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In 1814 the people living in Vevay assembled a petition for the site of a courthouse. August 1822 a final agreement and the deed for the property were turned over to the county. Members of the Dufour family were the leading land holders and the wealthiest family in Vevay. Samuel Davis was hired to clean up the lot for $25.00. The original building lasted around 45 years and during that time it required constant repairs. Joseph Peelman built the buildings on the county square for the offices of the clerk, auditor, and recorder.

In 1841 the shade trees that had been chopped down in 1815 were replaced. In 1841 the citizens of the county petitioned the commissioners for a new courthouse that would be large enough to protect the growing county records.

John Haley who was living in Frankfort Ky. and was a prominent contractor in that state was the builder. He began construction in 1861. He completed his work in 1865. The columns on the building are corinthian type. In 1864 when the courthouse was near completion the commissioners entered into an agreement with Israel Fowler, a clockmaker of Madison, to make and construct a good and correct timepiece to be put in the cupola of the courthouse, at a cost of $1,000. At about the same time a bell was purchased from the Coffin company of Cincinnati for $800.00 and installed with the clock.

In the late 1880's the commissioners ordered an iron fence which was placed around the square. At the beginnings of both world wars, the fence became a center of controversy as to whether or not to sell it for old iron. During the clamor, preceding the second world war, the commissioners had announced their intentions to sell the fence. But many protests of womens clubs and civic groups stopped the action.

Building materials of the courthouse include limestone slabs about 18 inches thick, yellow poplar floor joists and red brick on the exterior walls, and a classic portico. Extensive restoration took place in 1991. The original courtroom is still intact and one of the most beautiful interior spaces in the country.