- Trumbull County Courthouse
161 High Street, NW,
- Original - 1815
Second - 1854 (Destroyed by fire 1895)
Present - 1895 by, La Belle and French
- Restored - 1976
As Bicentennial Gift of Commissioner Lyle Williams - July 4, 1976
The first courthouse was constructed in 1815. the need for a new courthouse became apparent in 1840 when it was determined that the old courthouse was in need of repair and inadequate for the growing county. Contractors for the Second courthouse were Richards and Logan of Poland, Ohio.
A disastrous fire on March 25, 1895 doomed the county's second courthouse. While the Packard Block on North Park Avenue served as a temporary home for the county, planning began for a new courthouse.
It was about 3 P.M. when someone first noticed black smoke arising from portions of the courthouse roof, but for some unknown reason nothing was said about it until a half hour later -- Court was in session at the time and a witness who was testifying continued his story, although a few of the onlookers left the room. the Court continued in session for several minutes more.
The flames continued to gain headway and fire fighters could not find a ladder so efforts to save the building were abandoned and everyone rushed to the various offices and began carrying out records. Unfortunately, the clerk's office which contained records of the Western Reserve as far back as the Conecticut Land company grant, was on the second floor and the clouds of smoke pouring down from the blazing roof soon cut off this part of the building.
When all hope was gone of extinguishing the fire in its incipiency people stood back and watching the sad sight. From every side the flaming tongues leaped up and licked the face of the old town clock that has ticked and struck time for almost half a century. The tower at last tumbled, the bell came down with a resounding crash and the 5,000 people assembled felt with sadness that a land mark was gone.
The current Trumbull County Courthouse is a Richardson Romanesque design and features Ohio's largest common pleas courtroom.
The firm of La Belle and French of Marion, Indiana was selected as the architects and E.M. Campfield of Findley, Ohio was awarded the contract to build the new edifice. The cornerstone was laid on Thanksgiving Day, November 28, 1895.
Amherst sandstone had been selected for the building. The giant stones were sawed to specification at a cutting mill erected in the park.
Work on the courthouse ceased during the winter months of 1895 and 1896. Stonework on the tower began in August, 1896, with the copper roof installation beginning in September. The tower framework was completed on October 22, 1896, with the American flag flown from the superstructure.
In November, the courthouse bell, weighing 1500 pounds, arrived and the tower clocks were put in place. On January 25, 1897, the clocks were started at 4 p.m. - one year and ten months after the fire in the old building. The "statues of justice" arrived in time for the first statue to be placed on the east gable on March 4, 1897 - William McKinley's Presidential Inauguration Day.
The county commissioners took possession of the courthouse on April 5, 1897. The courthouse was dedicated on May 10, 1897, at the opening of the Court's May term.FIRST FLOOR
In the beginning of its first century of service, the Memorial Room on the east end of the courthouse housed the Grand Army of the Republic, Bell-Harmon Post No. 36, and its auxiliary, the Women's Relief Corps No. 58. The Clerk of Courts office now occupies this space.
On the west end, the Assembly Room housed the Warren County Public Library until 1906, followed by the National Woman Suffrage Association until 1909. The Probate Court is located here.
The County Surveyor (Engineer) and rented offices originally occupied the remaining rooms.SECOND FLOOR
Various county offices, including the Commissioners, Treasurer, and Recorder had rooms on this level. The Auditor's office on the west end was decorated in Empire style with Sea Green effects. It originally had one of the building's two telephones. Common Pleas Courtroom No. 3 is in this renovated space. The east courtroom with Louis XIV style ornamentation in Cerulean Blue and Old Rose was the Probate Court, now Common Pleas Courtroom No. 4.
The Commissioner's office is now the Petit Jury room and features an interesting Renaissance frieze with dragons entwined.THIRD FLOOR
The Sheriff, Prosecutor, and Law Library had rooms on the north side, while the Clerk of Courts on the south side had a private elevated passageway to Courtroom No. 1, which is Ohio's largest. Olive and Chamois tones dominate the ornamental style of Renaissance decoration in Courtroom No. 1. The judge's oak bench duplicates designs from the exterior stone carvings. Paneled oak wainscotting, oak tables, and the bar rail have been reconditioned to their initial splendor. A beautiful oak screen decorates the west wall.
Common Pleas Courtroom No. 2, also in paneled oak, originally served as a circuit courtroom. It is decorated in the Renaissance order with Quiet Green effects. The fireplace showcases an original mantelpiece with green tile. Two original brass thermostats have been restored here.
Original courthouse furniture and the original probate bench complement the Magistrate's Room.
The corridors display the Romanesque colors of Terra Cotta tones above the white marble wainscot. The Romanesque stairways feature pink Tennessee marble.
The ceilings and cornices of the halls, various offices, and third floor courtrooms are of stamped metal. Gold and aluminum paint highlights this relief work. Doors have knobs bearing the monogram TC for Trumbull County. The hallways retain their original marble mosaic flooring.
Combination gas and electric fixtures originally lighted the courthouse. Packard incandescent lamps were used throughout the building. The building was warmed by steam heat piped into the building from the power plant on the north side of High street.
In 1993, current commissioners Angelo and O'Brien and former commissioner Arthur Mage selected Dijk, Pace, Westlake and Partners of Cleveland as architects. Jack Gibson Construction Company of Warren was the general contractor for the renovation of the structure. Now refurbished with its public rooms restored to their original glory, the courthouse stands ready to serve its twenty-first century occupants.
The Trumbull County Courthouse was listed on the National Historical Register of the U.S. Department of Interior, 12/31/1974.