TERRE HAUTE —
Counties in Indiana all have historic gems, and a man spent last summer photographing these gems.
Courthouses and surrounding squares.
Courthouses stand in the heart of a city — often surrounded by a square and sometimes overlooking a main street — serving as a constant reminder of the rule of law.
But courthouses and courthouse squares also play an important role in a community’s social and economic activities, said Chris Flook, a telecommunications instructor at Ball State University, who traveled across Indiana to photograph and study all 92 county courthouses and adjoining squares.
The project is called Indiana Courthouse Squares, and the photographs are featured on its website, indianacourt housesquare.org.
Among Flook’s aims were to document the buildings and update historical records. The website also offers historical information about each courthouse and courthouse squares, which is being done in preparation for Indiana’s bicentennial in 2016.
“I wanted to do a big survey of [courthouses and squares] in the entire state,” Flook said.
Including those in the Wabash Valley.
The Vigo County Courthouse was “interesting because it’s not a traditional square,” said Flook, who spent about three hours in Vigo County.
In addition to Vigo, his weekend trip also included visits to Knox, Sullivan, Clay and Putnam counties.
He found something “unique” in Vigo.
“An attention is paid towards how the landscaping looked,” he said.
The courthouse area is “Like a park,” he said, having spotted some people eating lunch during his visit.
“The courthouse is absolutely magnificent,” Flook said.
Built in 1888 by architect Samuel Hannaford, the present Vigo County Courthouse is the county’s third court building. The first one was completed in 1822, about four years after Vigo County was formed by the state legislature, according to a 2006 article published in the Tribune-Star.
It lasted until 1866.
Next, a four-story brick building on the northeast corner of Third and Ohio streets served as a temporary courthouse for 22 years.
The present courthouse was dedicated on June 7, 1888. Around seven years ago, it underwent an $8 million interior renovation project, according to the Tribune-Star.
It may not be on a square, but people still gather there.
“Even though Vigo is non-traditional, it was still a place where people gathered around, enjoying lunch,” Flook said.
“The idea that it’s actually someplace that people want to be” makes the courthouse and its surrounding park-like area special, he said.
Soul of the Community
Another spot in the Valley that Flook visited one summer Saturday morning was the Sullivan County Courthouse and its surrounding square.
The courthouse was built in 1926, and its architect was John Bayard.
Flook noted the square in Sullivan did not have a lot of people present, “but it could have been the time of day.”
But the courthouse square shows a lot of potential because it can serve as a place for people to gather for social events, such as festivals and farmers markets, Flook noted.
Another Wabash Valley location, the Parke County Courthouse square in Rockville, hosts the annual and well-attended Covered Bridge Festival.
And it is an asset.
A 2008 study by the Knight Foundation determined “drivers” that motivate people to “attach” to their community. Two of these drivers were “surrounding aesthetics” and “social opportunities,” according to the Indiana Courthouse Squares website.
“American courthouse squares were surrounded by restaurants, shops, government offices and transportation hubs,” the project website states. “These amenities offered unique opportunities to landscape and construct edifices with aesthetics in mind, while furnishing the mechanism for a community’s social interaction .”
These aspects of the courthouse square are closely aligned with the two drivers found in the Knight Foundation study called “Soul of the Community.”
“Indiana is full of fantastic small, rural communities that are wonderful places to live, but they need rallying points,” Flook said.
“The town square can continue to be important from a business and societal standpoint,” Flook said. “I think people would be more inclined to live and work in a small Hoosier town if they knew what there was to offer. “
And Wabash Valley appears to be heading in the right direction.
Flook offered an observation when he stayed and dined in the Valley.
“There are still a lot of small, locally owned businesses,” Flook said. “That’s really refreshing to see.”
Tribune-Star Reporter Dianne Frances D. Powell can be reached at 812-231-4299 or email@example.com.
Man surveys, photographs 'soul' all 92 counties
TERRE HAUTE —
Counties in Indiana all have historic gems, and a man spent last summer photographing these gems.
- Local & Bistate
Purdue shooting leaves one person dead
A Purdue University engineering student opened fire inside a basement classroom Tuesday, killing a teaching assistant and prompting officials to put the campus on lockdown, police and the university said.
Students raise more than $1,100 for children’s hospital, watch school staff get heads shaved
Off with the hair!
Middle school students cheered and laughed with excitement during a school assembly Friday at Honey Creek Middle School as they watched three school administrators “go bald” to support a good cause.
THS grad Miller among students in adjacent building when shooting occurs
Kris Miller and his roommate were in a computer lab of Purdue’s mechanical engineering building Tuesday when they received a call that a shooting had occurred next door.
Bosma moves gay marriage ban bill to friendlier committee
Republican House of Representatives Speaker Brian Bosma sent a bill that proposes a constitutional ban on gay marriage to a more conservative-leaning legislature committee Tuesday, because it lacked support on the first committee to which it was assigned.
We enter the deep freeze again
If you had to step outside to get your newspaper this morning, you might have noticed it’s painfully cold once again.
Levy redirects school funds
If the new “protected levy” legislation goes into effect later this year, it would mean “a substantial reduction” in revenue for Vigo County School Corp. bus transportation, capital projects and bus replacement funds, according to the district’s chief financial officer.
School debt levy redirects funds across Indiana
School officials and state legislators from around the state are searching for ways to keep the school buses running — and children safe on the streets — pending the loss of millions of dollars for school transportation.
More than 50 school districts in Indiana stand to lose at least 20 percent of their revenues for transportation, new buses and other big-ticket projects under a new law that requires them to first pay off their debts.
VIDEO: Sen. Donnelly updates T-S editorial board
Passage of a long overdue U.S. farm bill could be completed by the end of this month, Sen. Joe Donnelly, D-Ind., said Tuesday.
Vigo coroner tries again for salary increase
After being denied last year, Vigo County Coroner Dr. Susan Amos is again seeking to have her county salary increased to match that of several other county office holders.
Small World Learning Center hopes to save Woods preschool
A Terre Haute preschool facility on Friday night has publicly announced its offer of a merger with The Woods Day Care/Pre-School.
Hot projects on display at home show
Two-year-old Reed Clutter looked like he felt right at home as he played on a swing inside Hulman Center in downtown Terre Haute during the 2014 Home Show kick off on Friday.
VIDEO: Seuss is Loose
Ouabache Elementary School Music teacher Alison West, playing the part of Dr. Seuss' Thing 1, tosses confetti during the "Seuss is Loose" parade celebrating the end of ISTEP+ testing.
Utility seeks land for new power lines
Duke Energy is planning to install a new high-voltage power transmission line that would travel between 10 to 13 miles north to south along the Wabash River, in anticipation of the 2015 closure of its Wabash River Generation Station.
Lugar Center to offer CPR training sessions today
Staff members from Union Hospital are partnering with Clark County (Ill.) residents to offer free CPR training to interested community members.
Free cab rides offered for St. Pat’s Day
Terre Haute law firm Fleschner, Stark, Tanoos & Newlin, which has made a tradition of encouraging free cab rides home to those who have consumed too much to drive, has its eyes now on St. Patrick’s Day.
More couples challenge same-sex marriage ban
Three federal lawsuits were filed Friday against Indiana’s same-sex marriage ban, boosting the number of legal challenges to the ban’s constitutionality to at least five.
INDOT to discuss U.S. 40 upgrades in Brazil
Indiana Department of Transportation and Gradex Inc. personnel will discuss a pending upgrade of U.S. 40 through Brazil at an informational meeting at 6:30 p.m. on Tuesday in the council room at Brazil City Hall, 203 E. National Ave.
Chamber still taking nominations
The Terre Haute Chamber of Commerce is accepting nominations for the 2013 Business Recognition Awards.
Vigo County Jail Log: March 14, 2014
The following individuals were booked into the Vigo County Jail by area law enforcement on Thursday and Friday, based on jail records.
2 new suits target Indiana’s gay marriage ban
INDIANAPOLIS (AP) — Two new federal lawsuits are taking aim at Indiana’s same-sex marriage ban, boosting to four the number of legal challenges to the law filed in a week.
Verizon new title sponsor for IndyCar
Verizon will be the new title sponsor for the IndyCar Series, replacing Izod, which left at the end of the 2013 season.
Driver in critical condition after water rescue
INDIANAPOLIS (AP) — Fire department divers pulled a woman from an SUV that submerged in an Indianapolis waterway after it careened off a city street.
Inmates part of new Legion post
Wearing khaki-colored matching uniforms, more than 20 veterans inside a maximum-security prison stood tall to salute the flag of the United States at an event that welcomed them as new American Legion members.
Putnam deputy released; April trial set
A Putnam County Sheriff’s deputy accused in federal criminal cases of excessive force against suspects in four arrests has been released to pre-trial supervision.
Parent group hoping to keep day care open
When Grace Finley takes her 4-year-old son to The Woods Day Care/Pre-School, she is reassured knowing that he’s receiving quality care, he’s safe and he’s loved. So when she, and other parents, learned Wednesday that the nationally accredited program is scheduled to close June 6, they were stunned by the news.
SCORE gets new home base
The Greater Wabash Valley SCORE Chapter 661 has moved to the former Indiana State Police Post building at the southwest corner of U.S. 41 and Jessica Drive on the Ivy Tech Community College-Wabash Valley campus.
Mayor Bennett drops veto threat over financial consultant
Mayor Duke Bennett has dropped a threat to use his veto power in the matter of the Terre Haute City Council seeking to hire its own financial consultant.
Gas leak closes city streets
A natural gas leak caused the temporary evacuation of three homes in Terre Haute on Thursday morning.
Police records provide details into arrests in case
Police records provide more details of four arrests that are at the center of federal civil rights abuse allegations against a Putnam County sheriff’s deputy.
Law firm to provide free cab rides home from St. Pat’s Day celebrations
Terre Haute law firm Fleschner, Stark, Tanoos & Newlin encourages St. Patrick’s Day revelers to make smart decisions for this year’s festivities. The firm will offer free cab rides to adults who have had one too many drinks on March 15 and 17.
- More Local & Bistate Headlines
- Purdue shooting leaves one person dead