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Courthouse History

The First Court House

On March 4, 1812, Abraham Miller, of Israel township;Paul Larsh, of Dixon township; James Ireland, of Jefferson township; Alexander C. Lanier, of Washington township; Thomas Massie, of Somers township; Richard D. Hale, of Gratis township; Peter Harter, of Lanier township; Frederick Miller, of Twin township, were apointed to recive funds from each of their respective townships for the purpose of building the courthouse.

It was 1816 before plans and specifications were agreed upon. An agreement was made with Andrew House (with William Bruce, Matthew Harbison, Robert Harbison and John Harbison as contractors) to build the courthouse in accordance with the plans and specifications as finally adopted, for the sum of one thousand dollars, to be completed on or before the 1st of December 1816. The commissioners (John Spacht, Andrew McQuiston and James Crawford) accepted this courthouse, on the 4th of December 1816, but was not fully furnished and completed until three or four years later.

The Second Courthouse

Shortly after the first courthouse was completed it was found too small, and additions were made, but, as the business of the county grew, the commissioners (James Wilson, John Patterson and Ebenezer Pinkerton) had to rent some offices in the town. About 1840 campaining for the new court house began, and finally, about the close of 1847, it was decided to erect a good modern courthouse.

The design of courthouse was determined to be similar to the court houses of Lebanon, Xenia, Urbana and Dayton. On July 15, 1848, they received bids for the same, and N. G. & S. H. Lockwood, who bid fourteen thousand four hundred and seventy-five dollars, was awarded the contract.

The court house was accepted by the commissioners July 17, 1851, and settlement made in full with the builders. Although the contract originally called for the completion of the building by September, 1850, the increased work made it impossible to have the court house in readiness by that time. The finished courthouse total cost was about twenty-two thousand dollars, or about one-half more than the amount of the original bid and contract.

The Present Court House

1918 Courthouse

The present Preble County Courthouse was designed by architect Harvey H. Hiestand (1882-1944), the contracor was M. J. Roche Constr. Co., and it was built in 1918. The courthouse is located at 101 East Main St. in the county seat of Eaton, the building is still in use and today houses the Preble County Court of Common Pleas and its probate and juvenile divisions.

Hiestand, an Eaton native, designed the courthouse to have early central vacuuming and air conditioning and left outlets for hose attachments throughout the building.The courthouse exterior features Beaux-Arts style architecture and is made of Pennsylvania Bedrock. The interior stairway is made from golden-grained pink marble of Pennsylvania.

    BY R. E. LOWRY 1915
    B. F. BOWEN & COMPANY, Inc.
    Indianapolis, Indiana
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