Wednesday, June 3, 2009

Symbols of Law

A courthouses serves many purposes for its county. County boundaries and the position of the county seat were originally designed to allow all citizens to be able to travel to the courthouse to conduct business and return home in one day. But the purpose of a courthouse is primarily to hold court. The presence of a courtroom in each county seat help to guarantee citizens the right to a speedy trial. (Goeldner).

Figures of the Greek goddess of Justice is prominently displayed on several of Iowa's courthouses. Justitia holds a balance in one hand, symbolizing impartiality, and a sword in the other hand, symbolizing power (Supreme Court).

Dallas County Courthouse: Adel, Iowa

Winneshiek County: Decorah, Iowa
Justice is in the center of the relief, centered below the balance.

Washington County: Washington, Iowa

Davis County: Bloomfield, Iowa

Jefferson County: Fairfield, Iowa
Justice is portrayed in terracotta relief

Sioux County: Orange City, Iowa
Sorry for the small image - hopefully I'll have a chance to take more photos this summer.

Franklin County: Hampton, Iowa

Marshall County: Marshalltown, Iowa
The goddess of Justice is centered above the north entrance, between two other goddesses.

Dubuque County: Dubuque, Iowa
The goddess of Justice on the top of the dome.

Polk County: Des Moines, Iowa
Justice is blindfolded

Shelby County: Harlan, Iowa
Justice wears a blindfold, in the arch above the south entrance

Dubuque County: Dubuque, Iowa
Three goddesses at a roof peak: the seated goddess on the left holds a tablet; the seated goddess on the right wears a blindbold.

Hardin County: Eldora, Iowa
Three goddesses rest in an alcove. The seated goddess on the left holds a tablet; the seated goddess on the right wears a blindbold.

Marshall County: Marshalltown, Iowa
Two goddesses are seated on both sides of Justice: one with a staff; the other holds a sickle.

Goeldner, Paul. (1971) Temples of justice: nineteenth century county courthouses in the midwest and Texas. Doctoral dissertation: Columbia University.

Supreme Court. Symbols of Justice. Online: updated 5/23/2003.

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