Wisconsin Historical Society

Property Record


Architecture and History Inventory
222 N IOWA ST | Property Record | Wisconsin Historical Society
Contributing: Yes
Reference Number:16182
Location (Address):222 N IOWA ST
Unincorporated Community:
Quarter Section:
Quarter/Quarter Section:
Year Built:1859
Additions: 1995 1893 1894 1996 1927
Survey Date:1984
Historic Use:courthouse
Architectural Style:Greek Revival
Structural System:
Wall Material:Limestone
Architect:Ernest Wiesen
Other Buildings On Site:
Demolished Date:
National/State Register Listing Name: Iowa County Courthouse
National Register Listing Date:2/1/1972 12:00:00 AM
State Register Listing Date:1/1/1989 12:00:00 AM
National Register Multiple Property Name:
Additional Information:A 'site file' exists for this property. It contains additional information such as correspondence, newspaper clippings, or historical information. It is a public record and may be viewed in person at the Wisconsin Historical Society, Division of Historic Preservation. HABS WI-28-15.

Designed in the Greek Revival style, this two-story courthouse was built in 1859. (See Bib. Ref. A). It features an L-shaped plan configuration, a limestone exterior, and a gable roof. Alterations and/or additions were made to the building in 1894, 1927 and 1995. (See Bib. Ref. A). The structure is in excellent condition. A detailed description of the courthouse is included in the National Register Nomination Form. (See Bib. Ref. A).

Architectural/Engineering Significance:

While the Iowa County Courthouse is the oldest in continuous use in Wisconsin, its principal area of significance is architectural, which is perhaps best summarized by Perrin who states, "This is the only important remaining example of a public building in the Temple variety of the Greek Revival style... A similarly designed courthouse at one time stood in Mineral Point, but was torn down many years ago. While no such fate threatens the Iowa County Coruthouse, it is important to see to it that it will never be threatened with destruction. It is an outstanding piece of work, unique in the state and in the Middle West, and deserving of careful attention and preservation." (See Bib. Ref. A).

Historical Background:

The first courthouse in Iowa county was constructed in Mineral Point in 1835. The hewn log structure, 24-feet sqare, was in use until 1843, when a new building (similar in design to the courthouse in Dodgeville) was completed. (See Bib. Ref. C). In the following years, a movement for a new county seat developed as petitions advocating Dodgeville and Linden as alternate sites were presented to the State Legislature, which in turn authorized a vote at the November 1858 elections. The community of Dodgeville was selected the new county seat at this election, but a later court decision (July 1859) annulled the vote. Despite the reversal, construction of a courthouse in Dodgeville commenced in the spring of 1859. An election in April 1861 eventually confirmed the Dodgeville site, with the first session of the county board held in the limestone structure on April 23, 1861. The distinctive Iowa County Courthouse, constructed with skill and precision by Cornish builders, featured a wood tetra-prostyle portico and a dome-crowned octagonal cupola. (See Bib. Ref. A, B, D).

Additions to the courthouse were made in 1894 and 1927. In 1937, the entire portico was rebuilt exactly as originally constructed. (See Bib. Ref. A). The Iowa County Jail, erected in 1872, is located just south of the courthouse (218 N. Iowa Street, 44/15).
Bibliographic References:A. National Register nomination form, Historic Preservation Division, State Historical Society. (Note: The quote is from Richard W. E. Perrin, "Historic Wisconsin Buildings," Milwaukee: Milwaukee Public Museum, 1962, p. 30). B. Robert M. Neal, "Centennial Story: The Iowa County Courthouse, 1859-1959," (Dodgeville: Centennial Committee, 1959). (Not Numbered) (Available at Memorial Public Libray, Dodgeville). C. "History of Iowa County, Wisconsin," (Chicago: Western Historical Co., 1881), pp. 514-515. D. Ibid, pp. 517-520. E. "Wisconsin State Journal," 7/24/1994. F. Walking Tour of Historic Dodgeville, Wisconsin, Dodgeville Historic Preservation Commission, 1995. Would've... Could've... Should've...A Sesquicentennial Story About Mineral Point, Wisconsin, by George H. Bechtel, 1997, p. 10, 48. Take a Walk on Main Street: Historic Walking Tours in Wisconsin's Main Street Communities, Wisconsin Main Street Program, 1998.
Wisconsin Architecture and History Inventory, Division of Historic Preservation, Wisconsin Historical Society, Madison, Wisconsin

Have Questions?

If you didn't find the record you were looking for, or have other questions about historic preservation, please email us and we can help:

If you have an update, correction, or addition to a record, please include this in your message:

  • AHI number
  • Information to be added or changed
  • Source information

Note: When providing a historical fact, such as the story of a historic event or the name of an architect, be sure to list your sources. We will only create or update a property record if we can verify a submission is factual and accurate.

How to Cite

For the purposes of a bibliography entry or footnote, follow this model:

Wisconsin Architecture and History Inventory Citation
Wisconsin Historical Society, Wisconsin Architecture and History Inventory, "Historic Name", "Town", "County", "State", "Reference Number".