Wisconsin Historical Society

National or State Registers Record

400 Market Street

National or State Register of Historic Places
400 Market Street | National or State Registers Record | Wisconsin Historical Society
Historic Name:Wood County Courthouse
Reference Number:15000457
Location (Address):400 Market Street
City/Village:Wisconsin Rapids
Wood County Courthouse
400 Market Street
Wisconsin Rapids, Wood County, Wisconsin
Date of Construction: 1954-1956
Architect: Donn Hougen

The Wood County Courthouse is an imposing presence, set on a rise on the north edge of Wisconsin Rapids’ central business district, one block west of the Wisconsin River. The courthouse has three, distinct sections. The courtrooms and the offices of public officials occupy the west section, overlooking Market Street. The narrower, central section is the sheriff’s department, which was expanded in 1977. The one-story jail section has a wrap-around addition that dates from 1986-1987.

The courthouse is a good example of 1950s Modernistic design, distinguished by its simple lines, minimal ornamentation, bands of metal windows, and the plaza on Market Street, framed by the exterior staircases. The design indicates that it is a public building, by incorporating elements of classical architecture to represent reason, citizenship, idealism, and authority. Classical features include the symmetrical front and central entrance, the limestone exterior, and the six carved panels illustrating the history of Wood County and its hopes for the future. The courthouse is also historically important as the seat of Wood County government since 1956. It is the third courthouse built for Wood County. The first was erected around 1859, on First Street North, and burned in 1885. The second was built on the site of the existing one in 1881, and was demolished in 1956, as the current courthouse was nearing completion.

Period of Significance:19561956-1964
Area of Significance:Architecture
Area of Significance:Politics/Government
Applicable Criteria:Architecture/Engineering
Applicable Criteria:Event
Historic Use:Government: Courthouse
Architectural Style:Modern Movement
Resource Type:Building
Architect:Hougen, Donn
Historic Status:Listed in the State Register
Historic Status:Listed in the National Register
National Register Listing Date:07/21/2015
State Register Listing Date:08/15/2014
Number of Contributing Buildings:1
Number of Contributing Sites:0
Number of Contributing Structures:0
Number of Contributing Objects:1
Number of Non-Contributing Sites:0
Number of Non-Contributing Structures:0
Number of Non-Contributing Objects:0
National Register and State Register of Historic Places, Division of Historic Preservation, Wisconsin Historical Society, Madison, Wisconsin

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