Adams County is named for John Quincy Adams, who was President of the United States.
Created: February 7, 1835
Decatur 1836 – present
County Courthouse – Decatur
Location: 112 South 2nd Street / Jefferson Street
Built: 1872 – 1873
Style: Second Empire
Architect: J C Johnson of Fremont, Ohio
Contractor: Christian Boseker of Fort Wayne
Description: The building faces east and is a two story red colored brick and stone structure. The windows are narrow and arched. White stone trims the corners. Around the roof line is a mansard roof with small windows. In the building center is a high square red brick dome with clock and silver colored roof. The base of the building is course stone.
In 1900, Adams County Commissioners hired Fort Wayne architects Wing and Mahurin to design a new tower and dismantle the original one. For added stability, the architects relocated the new tower above the building’s main entrance. Once workers demolished the old tower, they removed the damaged plaster and lowered the courtroom ceiling. All of the original ceiling murals were lost, excepting a small portion under a beam that supports the bell tower.
Decorative sandstone quoins, incised with an irregular honeycomb pattern, known as vermiculated work, offset the red brick body of the Adams County Courthouse. Patterned slate and dormer windows highlight the steep slope of the distinctive mansard roof. A 1970s renovation closed off all but two of the original doorways that graced each side of the building. In an attempt to create more space, the 1970s renovations also added a second story loft to the clerk’s and recorder’s offices, lowered ceilings, and replaced the original front doors with double airlock doors.
In 1995 the county expanded its governmental space by converting the former Bellmont Junior High School into the Adams County Service Complex, thus saving the historic school from the wrecking ball and creating a circuit court courthouse annex.
In 2005 the clerk’s office in the old courthouse expanded into the area once housing the recorder. To create one large office, workers removed the 1970s loft addition and several brick dividing walls. Because of the load bearing function of the walls, their removal necessitated construction of a new support system for the courtroom located above.
The Adams County Courthouse is located on a Shelbyville Square plan ringed by commercial businesses. Unlike most courthouse squares decorated with war memorials, Adams County honors its battle heroes with a Peace Monument, designed by Charles Mulligan and dedicated in 1913. The large limestone monument features a stylized female figure symbolizing peace on the front, and on the back, a carved relief honoring battlefield nurses.
Note: The previous courthouse was built by John Reynolds and Samuel L Rugg in 1839.
County Superior Court – Decatur
Location: 122 South 3rd Street / Jefferson Street
Built: 1905 – 1906
Style: Classical Revival
Description: The building faces north and is a two stone buff colored brick and stone structure. The north front has a one story entrance addition. Behind, the center section projects from the main building and has four tall columns rising to a wide pediment at the roof line. On the second story is a large arched window with narrow arched windows on each side.
N – Allen County
S – Jay County
W – Wells County
Photos taken 2006 and 2008