On January 9, 1907 the 1863 Hendricks County Courthouse in Danville met its demise when part of the roof over the circuit court collapsed. Thankfully the catastrophe occurred at 8:30 p.m., thus avoiding any injuries.1 Wasting no time, the County Council voted to construct a new building on February 3.
Clarence Martindale of Indianapolis used Indiana limestone in his design for the Neoclassical style building.2 Invoking authority, respect and confidence, the Neoclassical style remained a popular choice for public buildings throughout the early twentieth century. On the Hendricks County Courthouse a clock ornaments the pediment which is supported by Doric columns and pilasters. The current courthouse sits in the popular Shelbyville Square plan with streets intersecting at each corners of the square.
The interior of the Hendricks County Courthouse experienced its share of unsympathetic changes over the years. It's hard to believe that maintenance solutions once consisted of painting over brass and hiding decorative stencils with white paint, but many counties did just that, often in the name of modernization. The 1990s saw a renaissance of courthouse restorations that uncovered original beauty. Fortunately that trend continues as more counties restore interior murals and decorative details. In 2003 workers began the restoration of stencils, woodwork, stained glass and light fixtures in the Hendricks County Courthouse. With restoration work completed in 2004 the courthouse once again reflects the brilliance intended by the county councilors.
1 John R. McDowell, ed., The History of Hendricks County 1914-1976 (Danville, Indiana: The Hendricks County Historical Society, October 1976), p.56.2 Ibid.