The current Randolph County courthouse was built between 1875-77 in the Second Empire style, with a Mansard roof and clock tower that were removed in the early 1950s. J.C. Johnson, a Fremont, Ohio, carpenter who taught himself architecture, designed not only the Randolph county courthouse, but the courthouse in neighboring Adams County as well. Johnson's building is the third courthouse commissioned by Randolph county taxpayers. The first courthouse, built in 1828, was abandoned by the county for a newer building on the north side of the square in the 1850s. The courthouse square was built in the Shelbyville plan.
Earlier this year, the Randolph County Commission voted to wreak havoc on the Winchester Courthouse Square Historic District by voting to tear down the 128-year-old county courthouse. If the Randolph County Courthouse falls, it will be the first loss in Indiana since the Cass County Courthouse was leveled nearly 30 years ago. Historic Landmarks Foundation of Indiana, as well as preservationist around the state, including Chief Justice Randall Shepard, have been outspoken in their opposition to the commission's decision.
Among those working to save the courthouse, none can trump the Winchester Bridge Club ladies for audacity. To call attention to the cause, the club members have posed-showing all their cards, so to speak, but holding strategically placed models of the courthouse-for a fundraising calendar. Even before the calendar has been published, the ladies have more than accomplished their mission of drawing local and even national attention to the courthouse.
Read an opinion-editorial article (PDF) written by Chief Justice Randall T. Shepard about the demolition of Indiana courthouses