Gibson County Courthouse

Since 1815, three separate buildings have served as the Gibson County Courthouse in Princeton, Gibson County, Indiana. The current building, constructed in 1884 and located at the intersection of Indiana State Road 64 and Indiana State Road 65, is widely regarded as one of the most outstanding examples of Romanesque Revival architecture in the United States, and was the model for Department 56's Original Snow Village Courthouse. Gibson County's Courthouse is of similar design to the Johnson County Courthouse in Franklin, Indiana.


Following Gibson County's founding in 1813, sessions of the Gibson County Court of Common Pleas were typically held in the judge's own residence. Realizing that this arrangement could not last indefinitely, in 1814 the Gibson County Commissioners authorized the purchase of 160 acres (0.65 km2) of land from the United States government which, along with an 80-acre (320,000 m2) donation from a local citizen, would serve as a county seat. Two acres of land within the town, which was eventually known as Princeton, were reserved for the courthouse property.

After the land was acquired, the Commissioners let contracts with local craftsmen to construct the courthouse. Construction began on September 1, 1814. When the building was completed in 1817, it was two stories tall and measured 33' X 40'. The 1815 Courthouse remained in service until 1841.


As Gibson County grew, the original courthouse became insufficient to meet the demands placed on it, so in 1841 the County Commissioners developed specifications for a new building. The second courthouse, which was completed in 1843, was a square brick structure. However, it was plagued by problems, including leaks and poor ventilation; additionally, it did not meet the standards for space and furnishings required by an 1881 state law.


Due to the aforementioned inadequacies, the Gibson County Commissioners contracted with local builder Joseph Miller to build a third courthouse for the county in 1883. Construction began in October of that year, and the site soon proved to be a major point of interest for local residents. A dedication ceremony took place on June 17, 1884 and included a parade with veterans' bands and fraternal organizations.

Construction was completed in 1886, one year behind schedule.

In 2006 and 2007, an aesthetic renovation project began. The exterior walls and corner towers as well as the central bell tower were repainted, and a gazebo donated by Toyota Motor Manufacturing Indiana was placed on the courthouse lawn.