The current Delaware County Courthouse, known as the County Building, represents the minimalist style of architecture. Completed in 1969, the building features plain concrete panel walls, pierced by narrow window slits and highlighted only by the incorporation of quartz crystals. Muncie architects Hamilton, Graham Associates and George W. Cox designed the structure. C. Eugene Hamilton, architectural firm principle, stated that the courthouse was designed to be functional and not representative of a particular style or period.1
The 1969 County Building is the fourth courthouse for Delaware County. The first, a two-story frame structure described as “a large and splendid building for that time,” was completed in 1829 when the county seat was still known as Muncietown.2 The second courthouse, a two-story building with central cupola, served from c.1837 until c.1880. Workers laid the cornerstone for the third courthouse in 1885. Ohio architect Brentwood S. Tolan designed the magnificent, classically inspired structure, surmounted by a soaring domed tower. The Muncie landmark bore a striking resemblance to the Kosciusko County Courthouse designed by Thomas J. Tolan, Brentwood’s father.
Despite the protests of local historic preservationists, county commissioners approved the demolition of Tolan’s courthouse in 1966.3 Fortunately not all of the county’s history was lost with the demolition. Althea Stoeckel, a history professor at Ball State University from 1960-1978, saved thousands of historic documents contained in the old courthouse that would have been discarded along with the structure. Stoeckel and her students personally removed the books and papers and transferred them to Ball State’s Bracken Library where today they form the Stoeckel Archives.
1 Jon Dilts, The Magnificent 92Indiana Courthouses (Bloomington: Rose Bud Press, 1991), p.43.2 H. Duane Harrison, Muncie & Delaware County (Woodland Hills, CA: Windsor Publications, 1984), p. 18.