I need to take a break here for a while. I’m toast.
I hate writing an expository post like this since I wanted this site to serve as a directory for all the courthouses I’ve been to before I started to opine, but I’ve been struggling lately. As far as my mental health is concerned, I feel like I’ve been engulfed in a San Antonio-sized shit fiesta. I have been mired in a minefield of problems for a few months, now, and I need to take some time away from this, along with several of my other ‘fun’ history pursuits to focus on my wellbeing. It’s not demanding to write about courthouses, but these posts don’t write themselves- they take research, subscriptions, and time. Frankly, I don’t know jack about Ohio’s courthouses without time spent researching them through my various history subscription services and books. I’ll delete this post once I get back into business here. Thanks for understanding.
I’ve got one more post scheduled in the queue, and then we’ll be in uncharted territory. But fear not! We have a lot of courthouses to talk about yet when I return. I haven’t’ written about twenty-three courthouses I’ve been to in Ohio so far, nor have we discussed the nineteen in Michigan, seven in West Virginia, and six in Illinois I’ve gone to. Some of those unspoken structures are my favorites, and I hope to get more of a backlog as travel and schedules become easier to coordinate.
The first courthouses outside of Indiana I went to for photos were in Michigan- Cass and St. Joseph counties, to be specific. I was around the area in Elkhart and decided to take a different way home. I’ve been struck by how many of Michigan’s old courthouses have modern additions.
Many of Michigan’s counties also feature modern courthouses from the 1950s or 60s. I believe this is probably due to the abundance of timber there, prone to burning more readily than Indiana limestone. I’m pretty sure that both of these Richardson Romanesque courthouses are timber-framed beneath their brick and stone veneers.
Of course, we’ve already discussed many of Ohio’s courthouses but we’ve left out some of my favorites so far. Findlay has the most inviting city square I’ve ever been to. Music was piped in from hidden speakers around the thriving downtown, and the courthouse -on a campus including several old buildings that I can’t identify since I haven’t researched or written about it yet- was a welcoming hyphen that connected multiple genres of structures. Here’s that courthouse:
The Butler County Courthouse in Hamilton Ohio is one of my favorites. Ohio has a lot of big cities- Columbus, Cleveland, Cincinnati, Akron, Toledo, Dayton. At about 62,000 people -the size of Muncie or Anderson, basically- Hamilton is the state’s twelfth-largest. Although it’s essentially a suburb of Cincinnati, I can’t wait to discuss this courthouse, which had the tip-top of its tower removed yet still manages to dominate downtown. In fact, a modern courts building at the far right of the frame even mimics it.
I visited seven courthouses in West Virginia on the way home from a cousin’s wedding. Here’s the Upshur County Courthouse in Buckhannon. What a solid building with a great tower and dome. The original structure is connected to a modern addition over Chancey Street out of frame to the left, but that’s a post for another time.
The Randolph County Courthouse in Elkins, West Virginia dates from 1906 and is a phenomenal Richardson Romanesque structure. It was in Elkins that I found out that my Wyndham points didn’t transfer to Days Inn for some reason. My credit card was maxed after swiping it a hundred times at the desk, each time putting a hold, but at no time working to secure the room I’d already reserved. Thankfully we got it sorted out and checked in half-an-hour before the wedding, which was at a different location. My brother and I rushed there, changing in the car, and made it on time. A bit early, even, though our ties weren’t straight.
Finally, I can’t wait to talk about some of the courthouses I’ve been to in Illinois. My trip there was only a snippet, but there are some great courthouses, including Edgar County’s in Paris. Good God, what a structure. This was taken at an angle with my iPhone- the building’s entrances don’t comply with the cardinal directions.
It seems like I’m cheating a bit, but the Vermillion County Courthouse in Danville -just over the state line- is also of big interest to me. Its unique footprint was the result of its architects wanting it to uphold the same layout of its predecessor. It’s amazing how well that side at the left of the picture blends into the surrounding storefronts. The rear of the structure looks just like any building downtown would; it’s unadorned. We’ll talk about it in the future!
These photos and brief descriptions are all bits and pieces of what we’ll get around to at some point. As far as I’m concerned- well, I’ll get there! About eleven years ago, I was diagnosed with Bipolar II disorder during my freshman year of college, a conclusion that came while I was enrolled in a 35000 Abnormal Psychology class taught by a crisis mediator from the Columbine shooting! Today, I wonder if my mental problems are more subject to Dabrowksi’s overexcitabilities of gifted students since I seem to check every one of them off the list and was identified as a person of that ilk during my childhood. I have certainly underachieved as an adult, a thing that’s sadly common among many “gifted” kids that now find themselves in adulthood.
I spent the past two years at school for supply chain management. I supplemented my income, just barely, as a graphic design freelancer. Since October, I’ve been grateful to have gotten a job as quality engineer for the manufacturer of mason jar closures, a company that, prior to a merger, allowed me to cut my teeth in corporate marketing, brand management, and graphic design. My twelve-hour shifts are demanding and leave little time for other pursuits. I’ve found that I’m a person who needs a routine, and my irregular schedule of waking up at two in the morning on days I work while sleeping in later on days I don’t makes that hard. I’m still having a tough time adjusting, even after four months.
I’ve dabbled in counseling over the years, and finally found a counselor who stuck. I’ve seen improvements with some of my root issues through regular EMDR sessions. Of course, those occurred through the local “Open Door’ clinic with a sliding pay scale while I was scraping by as a freelancer. Now that I’m making more money, who knows if I’ll qualify. I’m not a rich man by any means, so counseling is on hold for now until I get it nailed down. Same with the medications I take. I smoke cigarettes and drink too much, to boot. I’ve found that I’ve been doing more of both lately, emboldened by my income, to compensate and self-medicate. I need to stop the drinking, at least. Drinking and writing blogs here aren’t a great match. I’ve spent much of my free time fixing older posts that sucked, and I have to admit that whiskey -not drag-n-drop-edits- were a big reason.
We still have a lot of courthouses here to explore. I haven’t’ written about twenty-three I’ve been to in Ohio, nineteen in Michigan, seven in West Virginia, and six in Illinois. I do have one more in the queue, which will go live on Monday, but I’m hoping that after thes break I’ll have been to many more. I mean, we can’t leave this blog without knocking them all out!
I need to rediscover the joy and sense of adventure I first felt nearly a decade ago when I’d roll into a new county seat. COVID’s there to blame, but my problems predate it.
In time I’ll start contributing again. I want to, badly. But I’ve got to do a better job of knowing my limitations. A post about the Greene County Courthouse in Xenia, Ohio will go live on Monday, but here are some of my favorite posts from years past. I hope you enjoy them in the meantime.
I’m an occasional pipe-smoker, and some of my favorite Danish pipes have a lot in common with the courthouse in Kosciusko County, Indiana. Read more here.
What makes a place a place? Here’s the saga of the log courthouse in Wayne County, Indiana.
The most picturesque courthouse I’ve ever been to is in Paoli, Indiana. Read about it here.
Do you know what a buzz bomb is? If you lived in England during 1944 or so you’d be terrified of them, yet one stands at the ready in Indiana at the Putnam County Courthouse.
My Great-Great Grandfather was the auditor of Huntington County. Here’s the story of the courthouses he worked in.
I hope you come back when I’m good and ready. Thanks for being here.