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Cass County Government Building (Courthouse)
200 Court Park
Cass County was created on December 18, 1828 by the Indiana General Assembly.
The first term of the Commissioners court was held May 1, 1829 at the old Seminary building in the town of Logansport, with Commissioners, James Smith, Moses Thorpe, and Chauncy Carter, elected April 13, 1829.
On Monday Aug, 10 1829, the Cass co. commissioners selected Logansport the Seat of Justice of Cass County, with a courthouse to be set on the plotted courthouse square of the town.
Court Park was plotted as a combination of jail square and courthouse square. The first building erected was "pound" or jail, on Sept. 6, 1831, followed by a second in May of 1835.
The first building on the present ground of the Government Building or (Courthouse square) was a structure to house the Offices of County Clerk and County Treasurer on May 12, 1834.
By the order of the Commissioners a Courthouse was to be erected on Courthouse square. Bids were opened June 15, 1839. The contract went to Joseph Willis for the amount of 13,190 to be completed by Dec. 1, 1842. The Courthouse was completed December 1844 at a total cost of 16,392.86. It was proclaimed as one of the finest in the State of Indiana and sat just north of the current building on North Street.
The Courthouse of 1844 with a bell/clock tower on the top, was added to in 1888.
In 1955 the bell tower was removed to a small cubical and in 1961 the clocks were replaced and the clock faces, which had not worked for years, were renewed.
In 1979 the entire structure was razed as the county commissioners had commissioned a new Government building sitting just south of the first courthouse. This is the building you are standing before. The Bell and Clock (now on the west side of the building) were placed on a clock tower on the corner of 4th and North Street.
The current Cass County Government Building (courthouse) has the same footprint as in 1979 with no major structural changes, though the façade and east entrance have changed following an extensive renovation in 2016. The community Bicentennial Room located on the southeast corner of the building was made from the sheriff’s garage, and additional space was enclosed from the Jail exercise area above the garage. The clocks have been repaired and placed on the building. A memorial wall has been place on the corner of 4th and Broadway. This project was dedicated on December 11, 2016.
The 11,200 pound Parott cannon on the building's west side was an important part of artillery in the Civil War. This cannon was forged in 1862. It was purchased and delivered by the GAR (Grand Army of the Republic), arriving in Logansport on November 19, 1897. On November 24th, it was delivered to Court Park. A mount for the cannon was bid by the county commissioners on September 5, 1898 and the cannon was placed on mount that year. As of 2016, it sits in prominent illuminated display on the west side of the Government building.
Weighing in at 1000 pounds, the Courthouse Bell was cast in West Troy in 1854 and mounted on the first court house. In 2016, it was moved from the clock tower at Fourth and North and also sits in prominent illuminated display on the west of the Government building
The clock faces received new works in 1961 including changing the hands to aluminum. The clocks are now mounted on the building's East and West sides and are illuminated by LED lighting.
Just a few feet away at the corner of 3rd St. and Broadway, in December of 1879, Ulysses S. Grant, the 18th president of the United States gave, or tried to give a speech. The grandstand collapsed, tossing him and Logansport’s mayor to ground. According to local lore, the man who had survived Shiloh, Vicksburg, the Wilderness Campaign and countless attacks on his character found himself temporarily vanquished by a hastily built stage at the corner of 3rd and Broadway — but still maintained that he was impressed with the town.
What Ulysses S. Grant would have seen on his brief tour of Logansport was a modern Midwestern town in its prime. Just fifteen years after the Civil War, the city had grown to 11,000 people and the county was nearing 30,000. It had a solid economic base of family-owned shops, water-powered mills, and well-paying factories.
By Cass County Commissioner Ralph R. Anderson DVM
Quotes: Helm History of Cass County Indiana
Credits to: Helm History of Cass County Indiana, Logansport Telegraph, Logansport Pharos Tribune, Logansport Pharos, Birth of a City,
The Pop Up Art and History Trail is presented by the Cass County Visitors Bureau in partnership with Logan's Landing, the Cass County Historical Society, the City of Logansport and Cass County Communication Network (published by Existential Media LLC) as a way to encourage residents and visitors to learn more about our community's history and local attractions.