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Benton County Courthouse Cupola
The completely rebuilt cupola was replaced on the Benton County Courthouse on May 21, 1997.


Benton County Courthouse
Vinton, Iowa.
D & S Sheetmetal's  Skilled Workers Help to
Restore the Historic Benton County Courthouse

Benton County was formed on December 21, 1837 from sections of Dubuque County. The county was named after US Senator Thomas Hart Benton.  Built in 1906, the county's present courthouse originally cost $105,000 to build.  The 112 foot high tower contains an illuminated clock and a 1500 pound B-flat bell.  Buckeye gray sandstone formed the basic facade material for this centuries old structure.  It is listed on the National Register of Historic Places.

In the summer of 1996, the cupola of the historic courthouse was removed and over the next several months D & S Sheetmetal (under the leadership of Kenneth Fee) worked to rebuild the courthouse's cupola.  Working with  the original plans from the late 1890s D & S Sheetmetal workers constructed a new cupola for the  courthouse, ensuring that the historic style of the building would be preserved.  The original cupola had been built in place, but the new construction was built in the D & S  Sheetmetal shop, using lead coated copper.  Each architectural detail was preserved.  On Wednesday, May 21, 1997, Coonrod Wrecker & Crane Service used their cranes to return the cupola to the top of the Benton County Courthouse.
Benton County cupola 1997
Benton County cupola 1997

This building is actually the fourth courthouse built for Benton County.  The first courthouse was a log building with no roof and no floor.  Because of the weather the court eventually moved to a  local log home to hold sessions.  A second courthouse, a two-story log building, was begun (1846) but due to a dispute about the location of the county seat --
the town of Vinton (originally called Northport, and then Fremont) was finally designated as the county seat, and the courthouse was completed in 1852.  A short year later, in 1853, a fire destroyed the new courthouse.  Three men who rescued the county records, from the fire, were seriously burned and died three months later from those injuries.

A third courthouse, a two-story brick Greek Revival with a tall narrow cupola, was built and dedicated in December 1856.  It served the county until this fourth (and current) courthouse was completed in 1906.  The fourth and current courthouse is a three story Beaux Arts building designed by Bell and Detweiler. 
Benton County Courthouse 1906
Learn more about the early history of Benton County at the History Archive where you may read The history of Benton County, Iowa, containing a history of the county, its cities, towns, &c., a biographical directory of its citizens, war record of its volunteers in the late rebellion, general and local statistics .. (1878) or download a copy of the 438 page Volume 1 of  History of Benton County, Iowa. From materials in the public archives, the Iowa Historical Society's collection, the newspapers and data of personal interviews, also containing sketches of representative men.  Hill, Luther B., ed. The Lewis publishing company, Chicago.

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D & S Sheetmetal, Inc. - 5805 Locust Rd SW - Cedar Rapids, IA 52404-4338
ph. (319) 362-2472; Fax (319) 362-5269   ©2010 All Rights Reserved


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