20 April 2016

Hanging Out at the Courthouse

 Earlier in the month, I was summoned for jury duty. As it turned out, I was part of a jury panel for a murder case, and jury selection took four days. FOUR DAYS. I'd expected to be done in a couple of easy half days at the most! In the end, I wasn't even interviewed for the jury, which made four days of just waiting all the more frustrating. Losing those days set me way behind on my various projects and had me (and many of the other panelists) in a tizzy, as you might imagine!

One of the crazy things about the process was the fact that the attorneys took a 2+ hour lunch each day. I am sure they were doing things behind the scenes during that time, but it seemed to me that we could have moved the process along a bit more quickly by taking a shorter lunch! :)

Anyway, since it was cold and windy outside and I had 2+ hours to kill, I spent extensive time walking around the courthouse. If nothing else, the stairs were good exercise!

I'd been in the Polk County Courthouse on a few occasions in the past, but I'd never spent any time really looking at the building itself. It's absolutely gorgeous and is a real treasure for the state of Iowa. Look at these stained glass windows on the ceiling!

  Here's a bit about this beautiful building:
The present courthouse was built in 1906 on the same square as the previous courthouse. It was built for $750,000 in the Beaux-Arts style. It was designed by the Des Moines architectural firm of Proudfoot & Bird. The original columns, stairways and walls were constructed in marble. Murals on the fourth floor were painted by Charles A. Cummings and Edward Simmons.

 The building itself is very bright inside due to those skylights.

 Here's one of the murals mentioned in the above description.

This is a view looking up under the center dome.

Around the outside of the dome are statues and quotes about the legal system.

Each marble pillar is decorated ornately.

I love the old doors with the transom windows at the top. The elementary school I attended (built in the same era) had similar doors.

Many of the original doorplates are still in place.

Although I was frustrated just hanging out at the courthouse, I appreciated the care with which the jury was selected and the unexpected opportunity to learn a little more about this beautiful building. Those four days forced me to stop and appreciate my surroundings, something I need to do more frequently!

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