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

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

Soldier's Memorial Statue

This soldier's memorial statue was erected "In memory of all soldiers and sailors of Johnson County" by the Heckathorn Post No. 47, Nebraska GAR in 1903

Tecumseh, NE Memorials

Johnson County Historical Society Museum

The Johnson County Historical Society Museum complex consists of three historic buildings with the main building and the rural schoolhouse located at one site and the Old Jail standing on its original location nearby. The main museum is housed in the historic Christian Church that was built in 1888

Tecumseh, NE Museums

Historic Schoolhouse

In addition to the main Museum, just to the north is the District #73, Hedge Corner Country School. It was originally located about 2 miles west of Tecumseh. In the 1970

Tecumseh, NE Museums

Old Johnson County Jail

The historic Johnson County jail was constructed in 1872 of native limestone. The huge blocks for the jail proper were secured from a quarry on Yankee Creek, 4 1/2

Tecumseh, NE Pioneer Life

Things to do Historic Courthouses near Tecumseh, NE