Johnson County Courthouse

category : Historic Courthouses
Johnson County Courthouse

Established in 1857, Johnson County is one of the earliest counties in Nebraska. Tecumseh, which was
designated the county seat, was platted in 1856. The present courthouse dates from the 1880s period of
prosperity and replaced two earlier courthouses built on the square in the fall of 1857 and in 1868, respectively.

In March 1888 Johnson County voters passed a bond issue to finance the new courthouse. Construction began
the same year and the Romanesque Revival-style building was completed in 1889. Listed on the National Register of Historic Places, it is an imposing three-story structure designed by Nebraska architect, William Gray, in the County Capitol style of architecture. Made of cherry red St. Joseph brick and Nemaha County limestone, it has a remarkable two-tiered dome that rises a total of 110 feet from the center of the building. Interestingly, the contractor was not satisfied with the cement used for making the concrete so he had cement shipped from Germany.

The dome is composed of layers of radiating voussoirs, round-arched windows, Corinthian capitals, elaborate bull's-eye windows, a lantern and weathervane. Fine organic carvings form the capitals of the entry columns. Pressed brick squares using a floral pattern provide further textural interest. Based on analysis of a building supply catalog, experts who studied the courthouse when the copper lantern was replaced in 1977, believe that the metal ornamentation of columns, cornices, towers, and the dome was ordered from the firm of Friedley and Voschardt of Chicago. Classical motifs are also present and include Adamesque swags, pediments, dentils, and smooth slender columns.

Address: Downtown Square

Come visit us in Tecumseh, Nebraska

Attractions and Upcoming Events

Carnegie Building

The first public libraries for Tecumseh were not pretentious. They were kept in private homes, at the city hall and elsewhere, with such books and magazines as could be secured through contributions and otherwise. The women of the city carried on the work of librarians. June 6, 1907

Tecumseh, NE Carnegie Libraries


The gazebo on the southeast corner of the Courthouse Square was built as a prop for the TV mini-series, "AMERIKA,"

Tecumseh, NE Landmarks

Tecumseh City Hall

Tecumseh's city hall was erected in 1890, at the cost of just over $4,000, and is another of the fanciful architectural treasures of the historic district listed on the National Register of Historic Places

Tecumseh, NE National Register

Colonel Barney Oldfield

Colonel Barney Oldfield was born in Tecumseh, Nebraska on December 18, 1909, and graduated from Elk Creek High School in 1928

Tecumseh, NE Famous People

Tecumseh Historic District - NHR

Overlooking the north fork of the Big Nemaha River in southeast Nebraska's Drift Hills region, Tecumseh has been the county seat of Johnson County since the county's organization in 1856-57

Tecumseh, NE National Register

Things to do Historic Courthouses near Tecumseh, NE