Iowa History Daily: September 1 - A Courthouse for Muscatine

Iowa History Daily: On September 1, 1841, workers completed work on the first Muscatine County Courthouse. Located in a town then known as Bloomington, the original courthouse structure served until fire consumed the structure on December 23, 1864.

Following the successful purchase of a quarter section of land at $1.25 an acre during a public sale held in Burlington during late 1838, county commissioners opened a bid process. On Christmas Eve 1839 the group considered seven proposals and settled on a 50’ x 60’ structure featuring a 10’ portico bid by William Brownwell and William Hassinger.

The two-story 20”-thick brick structure rose to thirty feet on all sides, resting on a foundation of hammered stone. Although the initial estimate for the project came in at $11,500 ($402,739.24 today), but came in over budget. However, by the early-fall of 1841 the building officially opened for business.

During the lifespan of the structure, the town changed names from Bloomington to the unique name of Muscatine (celebrating the Mascoutin Indigenous people) in June of 1849. However, the building’s initial tenure ended 23 years later. Expansion and reconstruction in 1865 and 1866 added significant space, and the structure served until the completion of the county’s current courthouse in the early-1900s. #IowaHistoryDaily #IowaOTD #IowaHistoryCalendar


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