This document contains information relating to the Crawford County Courthouse; the buildings and changes since its founding in 1867.
Dr. Charles H. Strong, Founder of Girard
Born: February 2, 1828
Died: July 3, 1912
Founded Girard: February 2, 1868
Crawford County established: February 13, 1867
On February 28, 1868, Dr. C. H. Strong, mounted his horse “Bob,” shouldered his old carbine, and set out to bag a deer for his birthday. He was also scouting a location for the new county seat. He got the deer near the southwest corner where the Courthouse now stands.
The surveyors of the railroad had driven stakes near this location, which led John Lash, Zeek Boaring, and C. H. Strong on the 29th day of March, 1868 to select this spot as the future seat of government.
Dr. Strong chose to name this new town after Girard, Pennsylvania.
In December of 1868, Girard became the county seat. The first Crawford county Courthouse was a frame building erected on the north side of the square. The first story was divided into four rooms for different county officials. The second story was reserved for the purpose of holding District Court.
Construction on the new brick Courthouse began in 1889. It was designed by a man named Schmid who resigned before the building was finished. The new building was designed in the popular Victorian Gothic style. It was built as a city hall by the city of Girard and donated to the county in April 1890, with Girard paying more than two thirds of the cost.
The new courthouse measured 90 feet by 120 feet and was four stories high from the basement to the skylight. The foundation was of light blue sandstone and the main walls were constructed of hard-pressed brick. The arched doors and windows were framed with elegant cut stone trim and the roof was made of slate. In August 1889, 37 men were working on the building with 18 quarrymen and four teams of horses at a quarry near Farlington. Eleven more men worked at Col. Daniel’s quarry in Crawford Township in support of the project.
It was an elegant building, intended to serve many generation for into the future. The building was constructed of 850,000 bricks and required 1,500 perch of stone in addition to that needed for corners and window trim. The “tower” rooms located at all four corners were a defining feature of the Victorian Gothic style. Each one was 23 feet in diameter.
Unfortunately, the magnificent structure did not hold up well. By 1911, it was badly cracked and the plaster had to be removed and redone. The entire building continued to crack, buckle, and twist. By 1918, the southwest tower was leaning eight inches out of alignment. In 1920, the offices were moved to various buildings around the square and the courthouse was razed.
On June 1, 1922, the current Crawford County Courthouse was formally dedicated. It occupies the ground on which the old courthouse stood. It is an elegant three-story structure measuring 123 feet by 97 feet. The basement is used for storage rooms, fuel rooms, and the boiler room. The County Appraiser, Motor Vehicle Office, County Zoning, and County Attorney use the first floor. The County Clerk, Fiscal Clerk, County Treasurer, County Register of Deeds, County Counselor, Special Projects, and County Road and Bridge departments are located on the second floor. The third story is devoted to courtrooms, jury rooms, judges’ rooms, the Office of the Clerk of District Court, and the computer room.
The current courthouse is made of Carthage stone and features generous usage of marble throughout the interior. Metal doors were installed in each office for fire protection.
Extensive renovation was recently undertaken at the Crawford County Courthouse during the 1990s. In 1990, a new boiler/chiller heating and air condition system replaced the old radiator heating system. In the summer of 1992, the exterior of the courthouse was completely refurbished. The exterior stone was cleaned, tuck pointed, and repaired where needed. A sealer was applied to ensure the lasting beauty and durability. In 1994, a window replacement project was started. There are over 90 windows in the courthouse, which were originally installed in 1922. New windows were chosen with exterior enhancement as the main objective. The replacement rate was set as one floor per year, with completion of the project occurring in 1996.