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A lover of courthouses
April 17, 2011 5:54 PM   Subscribe

As he travels the highways of America, courthouselover stops in every county and parish along the way to snap a photo of its courthouse. "From the Prairie-style courthouses in the Dakotas to the antebellum beauties of Alabama, and from the Romanesque masterpieces of Central Texas and Indiana to the Mission style structures of New Mexico, they are all national treasures."

He's made some pretty good progress so far.

And since he's there already, he might as well capture an image of some of the local post offices, too.
posted by SpringAquifer (33 comments total) 18 users marked this as a favorite

 
I have so far visited 1,378 county seats (1,358 counties) in the United States.

At first I was like "boooooook deeeeeeal!" but even if so, this is a ton of work and could even be of much value in the future.
posted by DU at 6:17 PM on April 17, 2011


The more I look at this the more I love it.
posted by DU at 6:23 PM on April 17, 2011


Is he some kind of terrorist, taking pictures of our secure installations of democracy?
posted by orthogonality at 6:24 PM on April 17, 2011 [4 favorites]


The looking best brick building in Bishop, Ca. is the old Courthouse located on Highway 395 in North Bishop. the Courthhouse was built around? the year escapes me, need help on the year, thanks.
Funny that courthouse is the only vivid memory I retain from driving thru Bishop many times years ago.
posted by taxpayer at 6:30 PM on April 17, 2011


s he some kind of terrorist, taking pictures of our secure installations of democracy?

He's just cataloguing them for the upcoming fire sale of state assets.
posted by Talez at 6:41 PM on April 17, 2011


I was going to complain that in Iowa he'd gotten the PO in Osceola and Prairie City, which is far larger (these things are relative) but 1) Osceola is a county seat and 2) I'm thinking of Oskaloosa. No wait...it can't be Oskaloosa I'm thinking of either. It definitely started with an 'O' though.
posted by DU at 6:44 PM on April 17, 2011


and NOT Prairie City.
posted by DU at 6:45 PM on April 17, 2011


The Clanton County, Alabama courthouse is my favourite.
posted by PinkMoose at 6:50 PM on April 17, 2011


Ahh, great memories! I once spent 3 pleasant and relaxing nights, before the travelling judge arrived in town, in this grand old courthouse in the beautiful, thriving and dynamic county seat of Stanley, North Dakota.
posted by Flashman at 7:09 PM on April 17, 2011 [1 favorite]


courthouselover has been a contact of mine on Flickr for a while. We've exchanged a little info about Tx. courthouses, as I'm trying, weakly, to catalog the ones I see. The sheer amount of driving he does is strictly insane, really. He's definitely the go-to online resource for this.
posted by Devils Rancher at 7:29 PM on April 17, 2011


The kid is 22 years old!!! Jealous...
posted by PigAlien at 7:35 PM on April 17, 2011


Needs a "best of" subsite in addition to the state-by-state groups.
posted by TheShadowKnows at 7:55 PM on April 17, 2011


On second thought, that was pretty bitchy and ungrateful. It's a hell of a resource, just a bit overwhelming for someone who isn't a huge, uh, courthouse lover.
posted by TheShadowKnows at 7:57 PM on April 17, 2011


At first I was like "boooooook deeeeeeal!"

You know, I've begun to wonder about this line of thinking -- is it really so bad if someone commits to an idea and builds a website around it, even if just to profit from its exposure/success? Wouldn't we all build a website if we had an idea that we wanted to turn into something bigger?

Having said that, WOOOOAH is that there some commitment. Wild collection.
posted by cavalier at 8:26 PM on April 17, 2011


If you like this, you may also like Historic Federal Courthouses.
posted by unliteral at 8:47 PM on April 17, 2011


This is actually a thing among long-distance motorcyclists.

Bob Higdon (who doesn't seem to have a webpage about it) recently did it in about 5 years.
3,069 in the continental U.S., 150,000 some-odd miles.
posted by madajb at 9:14 PM on April 17, 2011


We picked up a great little book of pen-and-ink sketches of all the county courthouses in Illinois by some local artist ... my husband (who litigates statewide) likes to use it to keep track of all the ones he's been to. (So, yes, there are already book deals out there for courthouse art!) All the other lawyers who see it are jealous, not even kidding.

There's so much beauty especially in the older courthouses, the "Temples to Justice." (Not the cinderblock palaces of litigation typical of the modern endeavors.) I always visiting courthouses if I happen to be in the county seat. Old timey city halls, if they're still in use, are usually very nice too ... from when every little city had a triumphalist, long-term vision, you know?
posted by Eyebrows McGee at 9:16 PM on April 17, 2011 [2 favorites]


*always ENJOY
posted by Eyebrows McGee at 9:16 PM on April 17, 2011


[this is good]
posted by moammargaret at 9:17 PM on April 17, 2011


Yeah yeah they're beautiful on the outside, but you try wiring them century-and-a-half old sumbitches up with 10base2 thinnet. Where you see a historic landmark I see some of America's filthiest basements.

Obviously I left that particular job many years ago, but I must still bear some mental scars...

Agreed. this is good.
posted by dragstroke at 9:35 PM on April 17, 2011 [2 favorites]


HEre is my question--up to the 50s and 60s, there was an attempt to make these works if not imposing, then central and aesthetically pleasing. They were updated, and imposing, and made of nice materials, and well composed. And then you see the ones in the 90s that look like strip malls,

what happened?

ase
posted by PinkMoose at 10:54 PM on April 17, 2011


Aw man, he was only 30 miles from the Codington County courthouse. Because of this oversight, I shall submit my own photo of that courthouse, with bonus Bill Gates and Tom Brokaw.
posted by DakotaPaul at 10:58 PM on April 17, 2011 [1 favorite]


Codington County, South Dakota, that is.
posted by DakotaPaul at 10:59 PM on April 17, 2011


Where you see a historic landmark I see some of America's filthiest basements.

I get to help clean those basements out for a living (self-link). It doesn't show in the pictures, but every one, I mean every single courthouse basement has an artificial Christmas tree in a box sitting somewhere.

I love this shit. Previous post on the US County Courthouse Flickr group.
posted by marxchivist at 3:59 AM on April 18, 2011 [2 favorites]


HEre is my question--up to the 50s and 60s....what happened?

"Fiscal restraint proponents" by which I mean "tax dodgers" took over the government.
posted by DU at 4:05 AM on April 18, 2011 [1 favorite]


Aw man, he was only 30 miles from the Codington County courthouse. Because of this oversight, I shall submit my own photo of that courthouse, with bonus Bill Gates and Tom Brokaw.

DakotaPaul -- the best part of the Codington County courthouse is the dome.
posted by yesster at 5:53 AM on April 18, 2011


I've thought of doing this kind of project in Texas off and on for years (for my own bad self, not for a book deal), but the increase in gas prices kind of scares me about hauling my butt out to the western end of the state.

I'm not surprised it's a Texan because we have some lovely courthouses here. The photos are lovely, and I admire the discipline involved.
posted by immlass at 6:58 AM on April 18, 2011


the increase in gas prices kind of scares me about hauling my butt out to the western end of the state.

I think you're looking at at least $20.00 per courthouse in gas once you get west of Del Rio. The counties out there are all the size of France. I burned $65.00 getting to Kinney county and back from Austin 3 weeks ago, and only drove through 6 counties the entire way, three of which I'd long since photographed. I only bother to get pictures when I'm passing through for unrelated reasons, so there's no way in hell I'll ever get all 254 counties.

I regret not making my various bands stop the Econoline van back when we were touring around the state with some regularity -- I've had 10 or 15 more of these, if I had. Also, why does the Bexar Co. courthouse face north? The front of it is always in shade.

My very favorite in the entire state though (so far) is La Grange, (go inside, too!) and it's a pretty easy dive from Austin.
posted by Devils Rancher at 7:16 AM on April 18, 2011


In a lot of places the old courthouse building is now a museum, and the new "county complex" building is on the outskirts of town, a big glass and stucco office building.

In at least once case I discovered this by showing up to the museum to get married. And, since we arrived on foot, having to haul ass a mile down the highway to, as it were, get me to the church on time.
posted by padraigin at 9:09 AM on April 18, 2011


Here is Loving County's courthouse - which is the least populated county anywhere in the US, with 67 residents. One sheriff, and no criminal trials for the last 30 years.
posted by thewittyname at 12:04 PM on April 18, 2011


Ah, I see he hasn't made it to Fresno yet? The courthouse there looks like a toaster, and City Hall looks it's always about to take off.
posted by jocelmeow at 4:43 PM on April 18, 2011


I've thought of doing this kind of project in Texas off and on for years (for my own bad self, not for a book deal), but the increase in gas prices kind of scares me about hauling my butt out to the western end of the state.

I've thought about doing this for Texas too, but once I sat down and started doing the math, I figured it would take at least 5 years and a good chunk of my annual vacation hours and travel budget. Maybe someday, but for now I have other travel plans that I want to do first.
posted by donajo at 10:39 AM on April 19, 2011


I figured it would take at least 5 years and a good chunk of my annual vacation hours and travel budget.

I would want to do it over longer than that, which is one reason the increase in gas prices is a huge concern. $20 per courthouse in west Texas is bad enough, but thinking about what the costs would be in 2020 kind of scares me. It would have to be in conjunction with other travel plans, definitely.

There was also a moment of "Mefi Austin road trip!" when I saw your comment.
posted by immlass at 11:06 AM on April 19, 2011


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