A small, shed-roofed storage structure has been added, extending from the east wing. All of the windows across the two-story wing include the horizontal section below the casements, and several window air-conditioning units have been added in the horizontal openings. Twelve bids were received for the electrical, plumbing, and heating work. Petersburg, IL 62675-0466 Despite the excitement surrounding the courthouse’s construction and, as importantly, the provision of work for local men during the Great Depression, many citizens were also interested in keeping the 1885 courthouse and jail for community use. As Willard B. Robinson discusses in The People’s Architecture: Texas Courthouses, Jails, and Municipal Buildings, these attributes made the Modern Classic (or what Robinson refers to as “Stripped Classic”) style an especially popular choice for public architecture in the 1930s. Although the Commissioners stated that there was no hope of saving the 1885 courthouse, which would block the view of the new building, they agreed to wait on their final decision regarding the old jail, which would sit behind the new courthouse, until the overall sentiment of community could be determined. During the month of February 1931, the cost of the courthouse and jail generated quite a bit of discussion. Except for the addition of a few ceiling fans, the district courtroom is virtually unchanged since its original construction. Withers clearly understood the significance of form and massing to Art Deco architecture, which was then proliferating in Dallas and Fort Worth. While these additions may detract from the aesthetics of the courthouse’s surroundings, they also reinforce its continuing and multi-faceted significance in the community. The paper also noted that, because of the Great Depression, “[a] court house can be constructed at this special time for considerably less than at ordinary or normal times.” Arguments were made about the assurance of local labor being used during the construction and the wisdom of paying bonds over an extended period of time, whereby the county could keep up with the loan during the difficult economic times of the Great Depression and pay more in the future as the economy allowed. Over the following three years, the library remained dedicated to re-establishing an adequate library for the school. Website: http://www.state.il.us/court/CircuitCourt/CircuitMap/8th.asp#Menard, Staff: Diane M. Lagoski, Chief Judge; Sharon Main - Trial Court Administrator Construction soon began on a single, gravity-flow canal fed by the San Saba River, which eventually extended from five miles above Menardville to five miles below, passing through the center of town. Mr. In addition to those costs, a vault and partition wall in the County Clerk’s office were not added until 1937. The first floor was occupied by a store, with the courthouse and jail on the second floor, accessed from an exterior stair. “The first men to the shovels when the word go was announced got the jobs.” (The Menard Messenger March 26,1931; Menard News Nov. 11, 1971). The library used the courthouse space, free of charge, until March 1963, when it was moved to a house at the corner of Bevans and Mission Streets. Only minimal changes have been made to the exterior of the courthouse, and it also retains a high degree of integrity. Although a cot was added in March 1937, the sheriff was ordered to discontinue use of the space in November of the same year because it was a hazard to a person’s health. The election was held on October 18, 1930, and the closeness of the vote reveals the community’s mixed feelings on the issue. The historical celebration, “Jim Bowie Days,” has also been held on the courthouse square for the past 10 years. Camp San Saba was abandoned in 1859, however, and many of the area’s residents left as well. That decision was reversed in August 1938, however, when a petition was made to the court for an urgent need to use the “dungeon,” and it continued to be used thereafter. The building’s dramatic stepped massing distinguishes it from most Texas courthouses of the period, however, and reveals Withers’s more sophisticated command of the style. The Commissioners selected separate subcontractors from the combined bids that were received. Menard County Clerk's Office Texas. Although the building’s plan and organization are relatively traditional, its stepped massing and simple, stylized detailing identify it with the “modernistic” mode of design commonly referred to as Art Deco. He recommended a minimum depth of 9 feet, but preferred a depth of at least 14 feet. The three central bays of the two-story wing are taller than the outer two, stepping up toward the central four-story mass. The library has been an important and active institution in Menard. 2nd Floor, Menard County Courthouse Phone: (217) 632-2615 Fax: (217) 632-4124 Monday - Friday 8:00 a.m. - 4:00 p.m. Instead, the Commissioners assigned a room in the new courthouse for use as a library, a meeting room for ladies’ clubs and a waiting room for witnesses during sessions of the court. (Plan-21) The fourth floor of the courthouse housed the original jail, which includes the jail cells themselves and the jailer’s living quarters. Let us know here, Montgomery County Courthouse120 N. Main Street, Room 1250.0 mile away, McDonough County Courthouse#1 Courthouse Square0.0 mile away, Bond County Courthouse200 West College11.3 miles away, © 2020 Everything-Bytes | Terms of Use & Privacy Policy. An additional jail cell, known as the “dungeon,” was originally placed in the unfinished basement and used for prisoners too drunk or difficult to get up four flights of stairs. An American Legion marker commemorating Menard County men killed in combat was erected in 1967, and a Texas Civil War Defense Monument is also on the square. While building’s designed in this style achieved a novel and modern “look,” what was inside the “envelope” remained relatively unchanged. Although it illustrates a common approach to courthouse design in the period, the building’s stepped massing and strong formal statement are atypical, revealing the architect’s exposure to and sophisticated understanding of the style. The building’s design exemplifies the widespread influence of Art Deco architecture on Texas county courthouses, but also the tendency to retain some entrenched traditional features. texascouDfji209Dirthouses@yah2sd9Dioo.com, TexasCourthouses.com The old jail cells will be used.” Porter also reassured the reporter that he would use local labor whenever possible. The roof was still covered under a 10-year warranty, so the county only paid for two yards of gravel. The central section is four stories, abutted by shallow three story masses on the north and south with two-story wings flanking the east and west sides. The local newspaper, The Menard Messenger, and Commissioners Court minutes reveal the story of the 1931 Menard County Courthouse. He established his own firm, Elmer G. Withers Architectural Company, Inc., in 1928. The Menard Messenger reported on October 23, 1930 that the new jail would be separate from the courthouse, on a site east of the 1885 jail. This work appears to have been more successful, as no other roof repairs were reported until the 1980s. Veterans Day Celebrations are held every November 11th on the courthouse square. Beyond its formal role as the center of county government, the courthouse and its square represent the heart of public life in Menard County. Of those 75 locals, forty men were hired at 25 cents an hour, selected through a simple but effective process. A total of 512 votes were received with 270 votes FOR and 242 votes AGAINST the bond. Thus on May 11, 1931, a tax of 25 cents on every $100 of property was established to pay for those items and to help cover the courthouse warrants. The mission was burned to the ground by a group of Comanches in 1758. Building Materials/Description: Vernacular, wood picket, Building Completion Date: 1886 Its county seat is Petersburg, which is also the location of the county's only stop light. The first floor includes most public offices and the small county court room. The somewhat unassuming location of the main entrance, centered in the protruding one-story section, is highlighted by its cast stone surround, with fluted pilasters on each side and the words “Menard County Courthouse” carved across the top. COUNTY OF MENARD ) ) S.S. STATE OF ILLINOIS ) The Menard County Board of Commissioners met on Tuesday November 14, 2017 at 6:00 p.m. in the Menard County Courthouse, 102 S. Seventh Street, Petersburg, Illinois. (Plan-22) The integrity of the interior is perhaps the most remarkable feature of the building. The simple, rectangular building, designed by McDermott and Associates, was sheathed in multiple shades of brick in an attempt to match the courthouse. Along with doing all the electrical work, they were to provide three electric clocks for the courthouse: one for the Commissioners Courtroom, one for the District Courtroom, and one for the jail dormitory. The original bond of $80,000 was clearly inadequate for the substantial building that was designed, and even the revised one that was built. The vast majority of original materials and finishes remain, including a large number of historic light fixtures. (Figure-24) In the 1920s, Canal Street was closed between Tipton and Gay Streets, and the blocks were combined to form one lot, creating the long narrow square seen today. By the time the Spanish reached the valley, in the eighteenth century, they found enough Apache and Comanche residents to warrant the establishment of a mission, Santa Cruz de San Sabá, and a military fort, San Luis de las Amarillas Presidio, in 1757. Its continued use as a courthouse has clearly maintained its integrity of association. A gas station now occupies the site. The county was created in 1858 and later organized in 1871. The United States government established their own military fort, Camp San Saba, in what is now the western end of Menard County in 1852. Architectural Style: Art Deco Menard County first elected its own officials in 1871, and their first meetings were held in a picket house at the corner of San Saba Street and Ellis Street. Yet another contract for roof repair was let in January 1947, to William Braley, before a major re-roofing project was undertaken in 1949. The structural clay tile walls are sheathed in multiple shades of brick, arranged randomly, and pierced by symmetrically arranged metal casement windows. COUNTY OF MENARD ) ) S.S. STATE OF ILLINOIS ) The Menard County Board of Commissioners met on Tuesday, September 29, 2020 at 6:00 p.m. at the Menard County Courthouse, 102 S. Seventh Street, Petersburg, Illinois. Although the new courthouse and jail were originally scheduled to be completed on October 25, 1931, the paper reported in October that the buildings would not be ready for move-in until November 15. E. D. Porter was listed in the 1931 San Angelo City Directory as a building contractor at 1005 W. Avenue D. He was the general contractor on the 1930 Kimble County Courthouse, where he was also contracted to do the plumbing, wiring, and heating. Two commissioners voted to put the footings at 22 feet, but the judge and other two commissioners went the other direction and agreed on a depth of 9 feet, which was where the foundation was set. The two-story stone courthouse, which featured a prominent central tower, was built on the current courthouse square near the canal. The Menard County Jail occupied the top floor of the courthouse from 1932 until 1980, when the new jail was built. William J. Vaughn, with partners William Tipton and James Comstock, established the Vaughn Agricultural and Mechanical Canal Company, in 1874. While most Art Deco-influenced courthouses in Texas, and especially those in more rural counties, derive their modern “look” primarily from ornamentation, Withers’s design focused on the building’s form, and its complex massing maintains a strong visual presence on every elevation. A petition was circulated in 1930 calling for a bond election to build a new courthouse and jail. Even in the 1980s, approximately 94 percent of the county’s land was in farms and ranches, and roughly 96 percent of agricultural receipts came from livestock and livestock products. The fort attracted settlement and Menard County was officially established in 1858, with the town of Menardville (now Menard) named the county seat. Withers designed the Menard County Courthouse during a brief partnership with Jesse C. Thompson. The stones from the old courthouse and jail were used to build the fence around the Pioneer Rest Cemetery in Menard. On September 17, 1931, The Messenger reported that the Commissioners had decided against saving the jail. Menard County, organized 1871, conducted its first county business in a house built of pickets before financing the construction of a more permanent, two-story limestone building designed by architect P. H. Mires. In February 1884, they discussed building a new courthouse and jail and, later that year, sold the second courthouse building to Fritz Luckenbach for $100. Together, these isolated events illustrate the variety of functions that a courthouse must serve in a small rural community. Their plans and specifications were approved by the Commissioners Court on February 5, 1931. The Menard County Courthouse is therefore nominated to the National Register under Criterion A in the area of Government and Criterion C in the area of Architecture, both at the local level of significance. The three-story mass that rises behind the entry section is the most ornamental face of the building. This building housed the Menard County courthouse and jail from 1880-84. Building Materials/Description: 4-story brick structure with limestone details. texascouDfji209Dirthouses@yah2sd9Dioo.com. COUNTY OF MENARD ) ) SS. The construction firm Vickery and Haynes of Kimble County submitted the lowest bid, $12,500, and was awarded the courthouse contract on May 12, 1885. With a rural economy based primarily on ranching, Menard County grew slowly but steadily through the end of the 19th century, reaching a population of 2,011 in 1900. (Plan-19) Stairs at each end of the central section lead up to the second floor. A separate builder, Walker Mowath & Co., was used for the jail. The form is nearly symmetrical, with the front distinguished by its protruding one-story entrance section and slightly more shallow three-story mass. In addition to a good deal of interior painting, a suspended ceiling was added to the county judge’s office and the county courtroom, and floor tile was laid in many rooms. In May 1935, the Commissioners Court considered a motion that the Grand Jury room be vacated and reserved for the Grand Jury. Menard County Courthouse in Petersburg, Illinois. During the summer months, the swimming pool is a popular attraction, and its location on the courthouse square reinforces the courthouse’s significant role in the community. For its longstanding service as the center of Menard County government, the courthouse is nominated under Criterion A in the area of Government at the local level of significance. The Modern Classic style was the perfect solution for a county who wanted to seem progressive and forward-thinking without completely abandoning the familiarity, solidity and monumentalism of classical idioms. Any person who believes that she or he has been aggrieved by an unlawful discriminatory practice under … As shown on the 1930 Sanborn map, Mission Street was also closed between Tipton and Gay Streets, along the southern boundary of the square. The section of the canal that passes through the square is lined on both sides with concrete and crossed by several small concrete pedestrian bridges. Commissioners Bob Lott, Jeff Commonly referred to as “Art Deco,” a term derived from Paris’s 1925 Exposition Internationale des Arts Decoratifs et Industriels Modernes, the building’s style is more accurately understood as a combination of fairly traditional design concepts with elements of the new “modernistic” formal vocabulary associated with Art Deco architecture. The Commissioners Court ordered on May 13, 1884, that bonds be issued for the construction of a new courthouse and jail, and county residents responded by passing a $20,000 bond issue. Contact Us Menard County Courthouse 102 South Seventh Street Petersburg, IL 62675 Courthouse Hours: Monday - Friday 8:00 AM - 4:00 PM Please note the posted courthouse closing Menard County, All civil cases at law over $300., Civil cases in equity., Proceedings in habeas corpus., Felonies and misdemeanors, Proceedings in quo warranto., Prohibition and certiorari cases., Appeals from magistrate court, municipal court, and administrative agenc, Phone Number: 217-632-2615 The style is representative of the progressivism that defined the era, in which erecting a courthouse with a novel, “modernistic” design became a public assertion of the county’s commitment to growth and improvement. In addition to securing a number of his own commissions, Withers served as associate architect to the St. Louis firm of Mauran, Russell, and Crowell on Fort Worth’s 1929 Blackstone Hotel, and to Wyatt C. Hedrick on both the 1936 Will Rogers Memorial Center and the 1938 Fort Worth City Hall. Twenty-two bids came in on March 9, 1931, ranging from $135,000 to $176,000. Minor. The side elevations offer the clearest view of the building’s stepped massing. The storeroom in the basement was also added at this time, and a curved, Formica-covered desk was purchased for the county courtroom. Seventy-five men and boys showed up at the ground breaking looking for work. Menard County Senior Transportation operates its programs and services without regard to race, color, or national origin in accordance with Title VI of the 1964 Civil Rights Act. The building’s very traditional H-shaped courthouse plan, with the central courtroom flanked by supporting offices, is obscured by the modern look of its rigidly geometric, stepped masses and its limited, stylized ornamentation. The canal remains in use today, still fed by its original dam. (Plan-20) The third floor is confined to the central section and includes the open space of the 2-story district courtroom, as well as its balcony, with a jury room and a storage space occupying the remainder of the floor. In the early 1930s, a good deal of controversy and discussion surrounded the construction of a new courthouse and jail and the fate of the 1885 buildings. A set of steps, flanked by low concrete walls, leads up to the entrance, and a wheelchair ramp has been added up the center of the steps. When the local high school burned down in the fall of 1948, the library became the county’s sole source of books. To pay for the furniture, Menard County Courthouse Equipment Warrants in the amount of $4,000 were issued at 6 % interest to mature over 4 years. The rear (south) elevation of the Menard County Courthouse, which faces the courthouse parking lot, is a simpler version of the front façade. The building’s design and materials are almost entirely intact, both inside and out, also preserving evidence of the original workmanship. Several changes had been made to the original plans to keep the total cost below $100,000. (Texas Courthouse Alliance; Menard County Historical Society, 1982). Fax: 217-632-4124 The building’s most common windows, which include an operable horizontal section below the vertically divided casements, were used on the two-story wings and the second floor of the central section. *Not location specific. Taking advantage of the lower construction costs and plentiful labor supply generated by the Great Depression, the county constructed the building to replace their 1885 courthouse and jail. Marker Text: Menard County organized in 1871 and officials built the first courthouse in 1880 and a second in 1886. The search for a contractor began immediately, with a call for bids published on February 5. Jury Duty, District and County Clerk of Court, Phone Number, and other Menard County info. According to The Menard Messenger, a petition signed by all the directors of the Chamber of Commerce was presented to the Commissioners Court requesting that the old jail be saved for “some general purpose.” (August 13, 1931) The Lions Club also supported the retention of the jail for use as a meeting space, library or other public purpose. (Figure-25), Both the 1885 courthouse and jail were razed when the new courthouse was built in 1931. All the bids were rejected for being too high, and new bids were requested immediately for review the following day. He moved to Fort Worth in 1910, where he began a solo practice. No official acceptance of the building was listed in the Commissioners Court minutes and no ribbon cutting ceremony was found in the newspaper, but one would assume that the building was occupied by the end of 1931. The railroad provided access to new markets for the county’s livestock, and Menard thrived, its population growing to 1,000 by 1914. As early as August 1937, the east roof needed repair. Mailing Address: P.O. Rumors soon circulated that the Commissioners Court was planning to spend between $125,000 and $140,000, based on the request for bids. The Commissioners Court seems to have been continually issuing extra warrants to pay for items that were not included in the construction bid, such as furniture and plumbing. The building’s gabled roof, including the gable ends and small knee walls, is sheathed in corrugated metal. No additional information was found on Thompson. The San Saba River and its valley, which bisect Menard County from west to east, have supported human habitation for thousands of years. The concrete walls of the raised, but unfinished, basement are exposed on the side and rear elevations, providing a visual base. At some point, the county had changed their original plans, because by the time the plans were approved the jail was included within the courthouse building. Present Status: Gone Additional county offices are in the wings, with the district courtroom occupying the majority of the building’s central core. A letter regarding the matter was published on April 9, 1931, from Harry Crozier, who wrote, “The point to me is that it is a sin to destroy beauty when there is so little left to us…but please see if you can’t save the old building and if you do my son and a multitude of men’s sons will look upon it one day and thank their God for a fellow whose eyes knew beauty enough to protect it for them.”. In 1910, the town used a number of incentives to persuade the Fort Worth and Rio Grande Railroad Company to extend their tracks to the town, which the railroad asked to be renamed Menard. The Menard Messenger related details of an additional petition presented to the Commissioners Court, which asked to preserve the old jail “as a living monument to early day builders.” (September 24, 1931) This petition had many signatures of concerned citizens, but the Commissioners were not persuaded from razing the building. The canal was intended less for food production than for ranching, which has always been the mainstay of Menard County’s economy. A long sidewalk leads from the north entrance of the park, marked by a sign that straddles the sidewalk, to the front entrance of the courthouse. County Seat: Menard The courthouse and jail were designed by architect T.P. *county-courthouse.com is not affiliated with the Official US Government, or any state, local, or federal office. Although some have estimated higher costs, a review of the Commissioners Court minutes suggests that the cost was approximately $100,000 to $105,000. Present Status: Existing. STATE OF ILLINOIS ) The Menard County Board of Commissioners met on Tuesday, July 28, 2020 at 6:00 p.m. at the Menard County Courthouse, 102 S. Seventh Street, Petersburg, Illinois. It is named for Michel Branamour Menard, the founder of Galveston, Texas. The most influential aspect of this new vocabulary, especially in the United States, was the tendency to replace historicist decorative features with a rigidly geometric, stylized form of ornamentation. (“The Ditch,” Texas Historical Marker File) In August 1943, a contract for $897 was accepted from Probst Roofing Co. to repair the roof over the jail and on the south side of the building (near the jailers quarters). Extensive research did not reveal any further information on Porter. (Menard County Historical Society, 1982) Instead of capitals, the pilasters feature an inset panel of cast stone with a stylized floral design resembling a Mayan hieroglyph. Menard County Courthouse – Menard Elmer G. Withers of Fort Worth, known for his many Art Deco designs, was the architect for this 1931 courthouse that served as … Mr. Luckenbach used the building to start his hardware store, and substantial additions were made in the 1930s. Is any of the above incorrect? (Menard News Nov. 11, 1971) On September 8, 1930, a bond election was approved to seek the citizens’ endorsement of $80,000 in bonds, payable over 40 years at 5 % interest. If any of these apply to you, contact the court to verify they observe the exemption. A bid of $1,333.50 was accepted from Bunyard Electric Company on May 15, 1931. (Wiseman 1952; Commissioners Court Minutes). Original light fixtures remain on each pilaster, and the original door has also survived. No windows were included on the sides of the three-story sections, and the four-story mass has smaller casement windows without the lower horizontal openings. In 1966, a community swimming pool (non-contributing) and a concrete block support building (non-contributing) were built on the eastern half of the park. Mrs. Will Nixon was ordered on January 11, 1932, to purchase furniture for the second floor Witness Room (then referred to as the Rest Room), not to exceed $500. A square boiler chimney, slightly taller than the central mass, rises from the intersection of the east wing and the three-story section. Although the original transom is in place, the rear entry door has been replaced with a non-historic aluminum door and sidelights. The similarly styled stone jail was at the southern end of the square, near the site of the current courthouse. From 1880 to 1884, the limestone structure’s first floor housed a general store while the second functioned as the county’s courtroom. The Menard County Courthouse in Menard County, Illinois. A cast stone cornice, with repeating panels of a stylized floral design topped with cast stone blocks, caps the central mass. The 1932 Menard County courthouse received an interior and exterior restoration and was rededicated on November 11, 2006. The Menard County Courthouse’s dramatic stepped massing is a particularly striking feature of its design. (Menard County Historical Society, 1982). Despite the introduction of limited oil and gas production in the 1940s, ranching has consistently dominated the Menard County economy. Its central three bays are recessed slightly, separated by fluted cast stone pilasters with ornamental medallions above each one. Although the 1930 Fort Worth directory listed the firm as Withers & Thompson, Withers was listed individually in both the 1928 and the 1931 directories. Although the square and canal predate the 1931 courthouse and lend historical continuity to the site, the non-contributing jail, swimming pool and support building have altered the building’s historic setting and feeling. The report found that the vault space was inadequate to hold all the county records, bats and mites were prevalent, wind penetrated the courthouse through the windows and cupola, and holes pierced the floor of the District Courtroom. The Menard County Courthouse even housed the public library for many years, a feature included in the original design (as part of the “Witness Room” described above). The original plans called for a full basement, but that was quickly eliminated due to the cost. (The Menard Messenger October 30, 1930) On December 15, 1930, the county selected the Fort Worth firm of Withers & Thompson to serve as the project’s architect. The canal served the dual purpose of irrigating land for growing grain and powering gristmills for processing the grain into feed. Although not uncommon in Art Deco buildings, the pre-Colombian influence illustrates Withers’s deeper understanding of the style’s precedents and creative possibilities. Additional bookcases were constructed in the County Courtroom in June 1937 for the storage of free textbooks for Menard County schools. Four months later, on September 14, 1931, the West Texas Utilities Company of Menard was awarded a $750 contract for electrical lights and fixtures. Architect: Elmer George Withers Five bids were returned, and E.D. An apparently pressing need was addressed almost immediately. The second building used as a courthouse was a limestone commercial building in downtown Menard. The Works Progress Administration (WPA) provided the labor in 1933-34 to lay the stones for the fence, but the arch was added later. Development of Menard County[1]. (Commissioners Court Minutes, Oct. 30, 1930). Withers, with his partner Jesse Thompson, the courthouse followed contemporary trends in courthouse design, uniting traditional features with the “modernistic” forms and ornamental vocabulary of Art Deco architecture. It was decided that “the unsightly character of the building, its nearness to the new building and the cost of remodeling it [the jail] into fitting quarters” would not make it a good building for a library.