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Courthouse Ceiling Stuns and Stumps

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    April 3, 2014 | 12:50 pm
    WEST UNION, Iowa Looking up at the stained glass ceiling at the Fayette County Courthouse in Our Town West Union not only is beautiful, but leaves everyone, including those central to the building, wondering where it came from. It's a mystery ceiling.

    After the original courthouse burned down almost a hundred years ago in 1922, the county residents rebuilt the current one to be something special. They donated money for specific features of the building, so close records were kept of everything, except for the stained glass ceiling.

    "There was a lot of mention made in the records of the day about the clock system and the elevator. There was a walking tour written up by the newspaper going through the entire courthouse when it was opened and so they were trying to give people a picture of what the courthouse looked like if they couldn't come to West Union for the opening," says Fayette County Supervisor Vicki Rowland. " There is no mention of the dome."

    There is also a sister courthouse in Hand County, South Dakota. It was built by the same architect, John Ralston, and construction company Curry Construction Co. who built Fayette County's.