Washington County Courthouse Listed on 10 Most Endangered List

Washington County Courthouse Listed on 10 Most Endangered List


To bring focus to the 128 year old Washington County Courthouse and the need for reinforcing the clock tower, the Indiana Landmarks association added the stately structure to the 10 Most Endangered list and gathered about 100 local supporters together to send the message across the state that “This Place Matters.”

Armed with signs and posing for pictures on the South steps and in the Veteran’s Memorial on the South East side, the group came together for a purpose on Sunday afternoon.

The stately courthouse in Washington County was constructed in 1888.
Columns on the West side of the Washington County courthouse are cracked.
Supporting the Washington County Courthouse today in hopes of a restoration of the bell tower, about 100 gathered today for a community picture to show “This Place Matters.”

The Washington County Courthouse is endangered. At the center of the National Register-listed courthouse square in Salem, the 1888 courthouse towers over the landscape, an imposing reflection of the commitment our nineteenth-century counterparts gave to this symbol of community life and justice.


(Photo courtesy Washington County Historical Society)
The appearance of solidity is deceiving. Lightning struck the beacon-like tower in 1934, sparking a fire.
Ill-conceived repairs at the time trapped water in the stone and caused deterioration over the intervening decades, making the tower unstable.
Columns on the clock tower on the West Side of the courthouse are cracked and officials are worried that in time the top could fall.
The structure needs reinforcement before a high wind causes a collapse.
Chronic roof and masonry leaks have been repaired and then re-repaired over the years and are (hopefully) being taken care of one last time with a mason worker this summer and fall.
Additional endangered buildings in Indiana can be found here https://www.indianalandmarks.org/10-most-endangered/
For more information about helping to preserve the courthouse, contact

Greg Sekula, Director
Indiana Landmarks
Southern Regional Office

Jeremy Elliott
Washington County Historian
John Hay Center