It’s no accident that the Sullivan and Vermillion County courthouses bear a striking resemblance. Architect John Bayard of Vincennes is credited with both designs. Interesting, however, is that Bayard’s courthouses also resemble those in Carroll and Spencer counties, both designed by Elmer Dunlap. Bayard’s 1926 Sullivan County Courthouse displays a more elaborate design, utilizing details that classify the building’s style as Beaux Arts rather than Vermillion County’s Neoclassical. Sullivan County’s budget--nearly $150,000 more than Vermillion County’s—may account for the difference in lavish detail.
While the Allen County Courthouse in Fort Wayne is the most high-style example of Beaux Arts architecture in Indiana, the building in Sullivan offers a smaller and simpler rendition of the style. Monumental columns, limestone swags and garlands, and radiating window headers illuminate the style. Where the grandest of Beaux Arts buildings have sculpture decorating the roofline, the restrained Sullivan County Courthouse displays a more practical clock.
The Sullivan County Courthouse is located in a Shelbyville Square plan, surrounded by nineteenth and twentieth century commercial buildings.