October 20, 2023
Nebraska has more than its fair share of ornate and beautiful county courthouses. But the two-story red brick and limestone Johnson County Courthouse in the town square in Tecumseh is one of the finest.
Designed by Nebraska architect William Gray — with Romanesque Revival influences — the courthouse was built in 1888 and 1889, with corner towers and a unique central dome at a height of more than 100 feet.
Joining the National Register of Historic Places in 1990, the building has four entrances and is part of the Tecumseh Historic District. Sitting on a high-raised basement, the 91-by-68-foot structure has an impressive two-tiered dome that includes, in architectural terms, layers of radiating voussoirs, round-arched windows, Corinthian capitals, elaborate bulls-eye windows, a lantern and a weathervane.
AT THE SQUARE: The streets around the courthouse square in Tecumseh remain paved with brick.
The courthouse is made of cherry-red St. Joseph brick that contrasts well with the Nemaha County limestone, which varies from rough-cut to smooth to carved.
The rough stone makes up the raised basement of the courthouse, which is repeated on the bands of the entry columns and on the continuous round arches of the second-story windows. Smooth stone is used for the water table and sills.
On the inside
Original features of the building on the interior remain relatively unaltered, including the pressed metal ceilings in the offices and some fireplaces, wood floors in the halls, oak counters, and decorated door hinges, among other elements.
Commercial and municipal buildings surround the courthouse in downtown Tecumseh all along the courthouse square, which is paved with brick. On the grounds around the building, there is a stone Grand Army of the Republic statue erected in 1903, a metal honor roll plaque from World War I, a cannon dating to the Spanish-American War and a bandshell built about 1945.
HONORING SOLDIERS: This Grand Army of the Republic monument in the courthouse square was built in 1903 to honor Johnson County veterans of the Civil War.
Notably, a gazebo nearby was built in 1986 for the filming of the ABC movie miniseries, “Amerika,” which was filmed in part in Tecumseh, known fictionally in the movie as “Milford.” The miniseries starred Kris Kristofferson, Mariel Hemingway, Sam Neill, Robert Urich and Lara Flynn Boyle.
About the Author(s)
You May Also Like
Current Conditions for
Enter a zip code to see the weather conditions for a different location.
Pros and cons of H-2A guest farmworkersNov 30, 2023
Market expectations: What's on the horizon for grain and livestock?Nov 22, 2023
18 gifts for the farmer on your listNov 27, 2023