IT’S AN IMPRESSIVE BUILDING defining a hilltop in the center of Ellsworth, The Cheese Curd Capital of Wisconsin.
Stately columns, a dome, stone sculptures and a certain sense of strength mark the Pierce County Courthouse constructed in 1905 at a cost of $85,000.
After picking up coveted cheese curds at Ellsworth Cooperative Creamery, my husband and I returned to the courthouse we’d passed along Main Street en route to the creamery during an early October visit. We both appreciate old architecture and the courthouse, which is on the National Register of Historic Places, seemed a must-see.
Designed in the Beaux Arts Style of architecture by St. Paul architects Buecher & Orth, this massive structure presents a powerful presence, seemingly fitting for a place that serves as the center of county government and houses the courts. A jail was built adjacent to the courthouse and completed in 1968.
The law, in the form of a deputy sheriff, showed up when we self-toured the public space of the courthouse. I don’t know if he was dispatched to check out “the woman with the camera” and her companion or he simply happened upon us. But I sensed that we were being watched. And I suppose that’s OK in today’s world.
Our tour proved brief given the public space is small and I wasn’t about to enter the courtroom, although I was tempted.
Interestingly enough, the Pierce County, Wisconsin, courthouse has a twin courthouse in Rugby in Pierce County, North Dakota. Same architect. Same style. Built in 1908 and also on the National Register of Historic Places.
© Copyright 2014 Audrey Kletscher Helbling