2016 Preservation at its Best, Public Building: Polk County Courthouse
Designed by the Des Moines-based architectural firm of Proudfoot & Bird, the current Polk County courthouse was built in 1906. Constructed for $750,000 on the site of its 1858 predecessor, the Beaux-Arts style courthouse was listed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1979. Typical to the neoclassic style, the courthouse’s design incorporates overscaled cornices, faces carved in the keystones above the windows, swags and other sculptural details on a stone tower.
Work at the Historic Polk County Courthouse is part of a multi-phased process that began in 2010 when the design team began working with the county to determine the viability of renovating
multiple Polk County Courts system structures. Exterior restoration to the historic courthouse was a precursor project to stop water entering the Courthouse building before the larger interior project scheduled to start in 2018.
Completed in 2015, the scope included Exterior restorations focused on stone cleaning, stone spalling, lead-coated copper detailing added to each belt course, lead coated copper flatlock was added in the balcony recesses, and lead-coated copper detailing was added at the tower and roof levels.
Preservation Iowa’s two most visible programs are Iowa’s Most Endangered and Preservation at Its Best. These two programs work well together because being listed as Most Endangered often times leads to awareness, a preservation effort, and a high-quality, award winning project.
The full list of Preservation Iowa’s 2016 Preservation at its Best award winners includes: