Itís not unusual for locals to try to move the seat of a county courthouse. After all the county seat brings recognition, commerce, and hopefully prosperity. But after nine attempts to remove the county seat from Kentland, the Indiana Supreme Court put an end to the squabble. After 40 years of controversy, the State Supreme Court ruled in 1904 that the courthouse would remain in Kentland.
While the courthouse stayed in Kentland, the State Supreme Court noted in its decision:
The original court house built in 1860, and which is still in use, and contains all the court and public records of the county, is a plain, cheap, wooden structure, so advanced in decay and dilapidation that the entire edifice is said to shake when the court bell is rung over it.1
On April 3, 1905 Newton County commissioners voted to replace the original 1860 courthouse.
Architect Joseph T. Hutton of Hammond designed the new building. Its understated simplicity reflects the Neoclassical style. Limestone trim subtly accents the buff brick walls while the pediment recalls the ancient temples of Greece.
During the construction of the building in 1906, the county cleared the surrounding land of additional buildings, to create a Shelbyville Square for the courthouse.
1 Kentland, Newton County Centennial, 1860-1860 (Kentland, IN: Newton County Centennial Committee, 1960), p. 15.