Franklin County Courthouse - Ottawa, Kansas
The beautiful Franklin County Courthouse in Ottawa, Kansas is a blend of Romanesque Revival and Colonial Revival architecture which was built in 1893. Construction of the courthouse took only a year and 3 months from the laying of the cornerstone until dedication. As attractive as the exterior is, the interior with its oak woodwork and incredible 1890s courtroom is even more impressive.
The building was designed by George P. Washburn of Ottawa and was one of the first of many public buildings he designed. When construction of the courthouse was approved by local election, the cost was set at no more than $50,000. The county government only stayed within that limit by separately paying for the heating, plumbing, gas, electrical, fixtures, furniture, filling & grading, and the architect fees. The official cost of the building was $49,014.69, but the total cost was $66,939.25.
While these photos were being taken, a woman was walking laps in the large courtroom and I mentioned that it would make a wonderful movie set, only to learn from her that the courtroom and the exterior of the building were used in the 1989 made for TV two part movie Cross of Fire, which stared John Heard, Mel Harris and George Dzundza. The rest of the movie (which was set in 1920s Indiana) was filmed in Lawrence and Topeka. Interestingly enough, although he was well down in the list of actors credited in the movie, each of the three people working in the courthouse who told me about the movie mentioned that is stared Lloyd Bridges.
copyright 2016 by Keith Stokes