Vernon County

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Vernon

Vernon County is named for Mount Vernon, the home of President George Washington in Virginia.

 

Surrounding County Courthouses: 

N – La Crosse County and Monroe County

E – Juneau County and Sauk County

S – Richland County and Crawford County

W – Allamakee County, Iowa and Houston County, Minnesota

 

Created:  March 22, 1862                       Map of Wisconsin highlighting Vernon County

County Seat: 

Viroqua  1862 – present

 

County Courthouse – Viroqua

 

Location:  400 Court House Square Street / West Decker Street

Built:  1880 – 1881

Style:  Gothic and Late 19th and 20th Century Revival

Architect:  Carl F Struck

Contractor:  Ole Larson

 

Description:  The building faces east and is a two story light buff colored limestone structure. The building is located on spacious landscaped grounds in the center of Viroqua. The east front has a small portico on the first story with balcony on the second story with a large arched window. A square brick tower rises to a square open cupola. Behind the tower is a lower section with the high main building behind. The main block of the courthouse has corner pilasters. The second floor has the large County Circuit Court courtroom, a jury room and the circuit judge’s chambers. All walls on both floors have been painted institutional pastel greens, though woodwork was not removed, just painted over. The best interior space is the circuit court room, which contains elaborate woodwork framing windows and doorways. Murals are found on the west, south, and east walls of the court room. The building houses the County Circuit Court of the 7th Judicial Circuit. Additions were built in 1904, 1924, 1988 and 1998. A brick addition was constructed on the west side in 1955 and is connected by a one story structure. On the south side is the Banta Building which is the former County Jail designed by J Henry Bennett and constructed in 1910.

 

Note:  The courthouse was built of limestone from a local quarry. The stonework was done by William Lake of Viroqua and John Benson of La Crosse.

 

See:  National Register of Historic Places – Vernon County Courthouse

 

See:  The 7th Judicial District includes Adams County, Buffalo County, Clark County, Crawford CountyGrant Countyiowa County, Jackson CountyJuneau CountyLa Crosse County, Monroe County, Pepin CountyPierce County and Trempealeau County.

 

History:  The county was created in 1862 and Viroqua was selected as the county seat. The first courthouse was a building erected in 1850. By Moses Decker. The second courthouse was a two story structure designed by Thomas J DeFrees and built by Samuel McMichael in 1854 to 1856 in 1856 at a cost of $2,100. The third and present courthouse was constructed in 1880 to 1881 at a cost of $23,168.

 

 

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County Courthouse - Viroqua  

 

 

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County Courthouse Annex – Viroqua

 

 

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Banta Building  ( Old County Jail ) - Viroqua  

 

 

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Photos taken 2007, 2010 and 2023