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Page last updated on July 6, 2017 at 3:48 pm

Saved from demolition in 1984, the Monroe County Courthouse has become a centerpiece of community pride and commitment to historic preservation.

Like many other Midwestern communities, Monroe County chose to construct a new courthouse in the Beau Arts style early in the 20th century. The old courthouse was built in 1826 and remodeled on several occasions. It was a cobbled mixture of classical Greek Revival and French Second Empire styles. About the time that the old courthouse started to show its age, the nation adopted a new style of institutional architecture featured at the Chicago World's Columbian Exposition of 1893 and the 1904 St. Louis World's Fair. Classically inspired exhibit halls encrusted with sculpture and carving were replicated in courthouses, libraries, city halls and post offices all over the country. Fortunately for Bloomington, limestone was the material of choice and the wealth of our community increased dramatically with the national building boom. In 1912, there were 17 stone quarries, 22 mills and 15 cut stone plants operating in Monroe county.

Bloomington lavishly borrowed from the St. Louis designers, hiring Albert Molnar, who carved the entrance sculpture "The Light of the World" and Gustav Brand whose restored murals decorate the rotunda.