The completely rebuilt cupola was replaced on the Benton County Courthouse on May 21, 1997.
|Benton County Courthouse|
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
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.
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
designed by Bell and Detweiler.
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.