Hardin County was established in 1851, named for Colonel John J. Hardin from Illinois who served in the Black Hawk War and was killed in the Mexican War. Eldora was chosen as the county seat in 1853. However, competition raged for years over the county seat, going to voters four different times, with legal battles and appeals over the election results from 1856 to 1891. Through it all, Eldora has remained Hardin County’s county seat.
Hardin County’s first courthouse was a small frame structure built in the 1850’s, which burned around 1855. A second courthouse was built in 1857. This two-story frame building was used until 1892. The current courthouse, designed in Romanesque and Victorian architectural styles by T.D. Allen, with construction beginning in 1892 by contractor J. F. Atkinson. The red brick structure features elaborate stone trim, arches supported by red marble columns, turrets, and a high clock tower with statues resting in an alcove below the clock. A fire in 1921 destroyed the roof and much of the clock tower. Major renovations were completed in 1970, implementing changes necessary for safety and comfort, while preserving many elements of its original beauty. The Hardin County courthouse was added to the National Register of Historic Places in 1981.
Visit the Hardin County web site for more information.
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