The Davis County Courthouse is the focal point of the community and draws the most attention from motorists and tourists who travel through Bloomfield. It is likely the most photographed building in Davis County.
The building has undergone a major bell tower restoration, and the Seth Thomas Clock has been restored in this historic structure, which is on the National Register of Historic Places.
Built of Bedford stone in 1877 for $45,201, the courthouse is now 143 years old. The architect, T.J. Tolan, styled it in French Renaissance style, sometimes called Second Empire, with a mansard roof from which third-story dormer windows project. The building’s foundation is four-feet thick, and its walls are 16 inches thick. It has 42 rooms, counting the vault, and 115 windows. There are stone steps up to the east and west entries, and a few years ago an elevator was added on the southwest side.
Most Davis County offices are located on the first floor of the courthouse. The Davis County Board of Supervisors’ office is on the second floor, as well as jury rooms and the 45’ x 65’ courtroom that can seat 300 people. The courtroom’s seats and benches are all walnut originals. The jail was in the basement until the fall of 1973.Now, the assessor’s office is behind bars in the former jail area.
At one time, the courthouse was surrounded by a wrought iron fence at the edge of the courtyard with a sidewalk outside the fence and hitching posts along the sidewalk. Currently, there are many flowerbeds and memorial trees in the courtyard.
The courthouse was preceded by a log courthouse, built in the summer of 1844. The Iowa Territorial Legislature declared Davis a county on March 1, 1844. In 1846, land was deeded to Davis County by the territorial legislature. Davis County was named for Garrett Davis, a congressman and chairman of the Claims Committee of Congress.
The Davis County Courthouse is open from 8 a.m.-4 p.m. Monday through Friday. Stop in at the Recorder’s Office (641-664-2321) or the Auditor’s Office (641-664-2101) on the first floor to request a tour.
Newly renovated public restrooms are available in the basement of the courthouse for tourists and residents.