LIMA — It’s a building Judge Jeffrey Reed has spent his career in, so he thought he’d share a history lesson about it.
Reed spoke at the Allen County Republican Party lunch Friday about the history of the Allen County Courthouse and its two predecessors.
“I’m thankful it’s been kept up, and I hope we can continue to do that, because it’s a beautiful building,” Reed said.
Allen County’s first courthouse was a log building built in 1832 for $175. It lasted until a second courthouse was built in 1884 for $13,325, Reed said. A contest was held and the winning design was a classic revival. It stood where Veterans Memorial Civic Center is now. The bell from that courthouse graces the lawn of the current courthouse two blocks north of Town Square, Reed said.
That second courthouse was also the site of the county’s only official hanging, Reed said. Andrew Brentlinger was convicted of killing his wife, Reed said, and he hanged in 1872 after a 100-day reprieve from the governor.
“No appeals back then,” Reed said.
A German architect who opened a business in Columbus built the current courthouse, which opened in 1884. Differing records put the cost of construction at somewhere between $160,000 and $350,000.
Two recent problems, pigeons and a malfunctioning clock, have long been with the courthouse, Reed said, showing headlines from decades ago.
The courthouse has suffered multiple losses, including a famous 1929 fire in which two firefighters lost their lives.
In 1971, crews removed an eagle statue atop the courthouse because it was deteriorating. That eagle is housed at the Allen County Museum.