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The Porter County Courthouse is located at the
center of the Downtown Valparaiso city square.
Click the above picture for a view of the
Courthouse at night.
Historic Structures of
At the heart of this 160-year-old city is the Courthouse
Square, the city center of business and shopping. Built mostly in the
1850's and 1860's, the structure of Courthouse Square forms an historic
arrangement of public and commercial buildings. Almost 150 years and
several makeovers later, the square displays a delightful variety of
architectural history in its structures from 19th century Greek and
Roman forms of the Porter County Courthouse, to the ornate Victorian
Opera House, to the neoclassical First National Bank.
To further strengthen
"a living city image," Valparaiso adopted a strategy of downtown
beautification, an example of cooperation between the city and its
residents. Unfortunately, late in 1996, an arson fire occurred in a
major historic department store building (not shown here) while it was
undergoing renovation .
To visit downtown
Valparaiso, from the intersection of routes 30 and 130, go north 2.3
miles to Center.
A downtown Valparaiso street.
A respectfully maintained clothier's shop in
This is a two-part commercial block building, the
most common form of architecture for small and moderate-sized
commercial buildings in the United States. The style is characterized
by a horizontal separation into two distinct zones, reflecting
differences in use of the upper and lower floors of the building. The
street-level zone serves as a public space (in this case, a retail
shop), while the upper floor may serve as living quarters, meeting
rooms or offices.
Elks Temple Building, downtown Valparaiso.
Valparaiso City Hall also houses a Post Office.
Memorial Opera House
On the National Register and hosts regular
community enrichment events. Stone plaque on the front reads:
SOLDIERS AND SAILORS
pictures of this building
Courtesy of Dan Orr
This Italianate-style building located at 153
Franklin (next door to the opera house above) served as a jail and
sheriff's residence from 1871 to 1974. It is now the Historical Society
of Porter County museum. Fashionable in England and the U.S. in the
1840's and 1850's, the Italianate style is characterized by
low-pitched, heavily-bracketed roofs, and round-arched windows.
The jailhouse portion of the building, built of
rusticated stone, is almost castle-like. The design suggests security
and great soundness. The great care that went into the design of this
building is reflective of the sensitivity of the era in which it was
built. Since this building had to house hardened criminals in the heart
of the downtown area, it was designed to not only be as unobtrusive as
possible, but to actually be picturesque. And it succeeded grandly.
This grand Richardsonian Romanesque building, a
former school, now houses a boy's and girl's club of Indiana, an
excellent example of a new use for an historic building.
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