La Porte County Courthouses
There have been three courthouses in the City of La Porte including the present one and all have been built on the same location. Simon 0. Bunce was awarded the contract for the first building in 1833, at a price of $3,975. All walls were constructed of well-burnt brick which was made on the premises. Greek Revival style was chosen for the second structure designed by John M. Vanosdel and built by Luther Mann, Jr. with the cornerstone being laid in 1848, which still remains in the third building. Cost of this building was $9,350. The present courthouse is of Portage Entry (Lake Superior) red sandstone. The architect was Brentwood Tolan of Ft. Wayne and Charles A. Moses of Chicago was the contractor.
Total cost for the building was $328,000. All the stone was shipped via boat to Michigan City and transferred to La Porte by rail. There are a least 45 gargoyle-type faces located in the corners of the windows, as well as other areas. There are three floors and a basement, with the third floor housing the courtrooms. Stained glass windows are also part of the structure, especially the large one in the circuit courtroom of Iustia, Goddess of Justice. Officials moved into their new quarters in March 1894, exactly twenty-five months from the day of ground breaking. This is the oldest of the two existing courthouses in La Porte County. In 1970, the building was included in the Historic Buildings Survey.
Superior Court House in Michigan City was completed in 1909 after the city donated land for it at Washington and Michigan Streets. Earlier court sessions were conducted on the second floor of a building at Franklin and Michigan Streets.
written by F. E. Schultz