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Wednesday, June 26, 2013

Sheboygan County Court House, Art Deco Divine

I didn't intend to stop in to see the Sheboygan County Court House while I was looking for public art and historic architecture, but the geometrical carving on the limestone of the building caught my eye.  I took a chance and climbed the steps.  I've been disappointed when I've opened doors a lot lately, but not this time.

Art Deco is probably my favorite type of architectural style.  I don't know why exactly, something in the bold lines appeals to me.  I dig a cherub and and a fluted column as much as the next gal, but how can you not be drawn to these light fixtures and those eagles? The pink granite and the fluted edges on the light fixtures softens what might otherwise look a little too cold.

I couldn't find much information on the architecture of the courthouse online, but it was built in 1933. I love the use of metal like the aluminum shown here in Art Deco, but apparently in some areas the style takes on a bold use of color instead of the cool mechanical look I usually see in the Chicago and Milwaukee area.

As we travel it's on my list to try to seek out Art Deco in the places we go, but finding it in Sheboygan wasn't on my itinerary.  Sometimes you just have to climb the steps and open the door not knowing what you might find.  We stopped in Milwaukee on our way home from Sheboygan.  No Art Deco, but I tried a lot of doors and found a lot of other great'll have to wait a few posts to find out.  I don't want to become an architecture blog instead of a travel blog, after all!

Apparently some of the style grew out of a fascination with ancient Egyptian symbolism and design.  I can see that.  Maybe it's the suggestion of something ancient and far away yet modern and cutting edge that appeals to me. These same design principles influenced more than buildings and interior design.  All you have to do is look at a car from the 1930's to see the similarity.  Check out this pic I grabbed from the internet showing the interior of the Fargo Theatre in Fargo, North Dakota.

 "Despicable Me" is playing there now, wish I could hop in my car and go, but a 9 hour drive each way is a little much to catch a movie.

In 2006 I took Cory and a friend of his on an architecture tour in Chicago and that's when I fell in love with Art Deco.  The Chicago Board of Trade and the Field Building were my introduction to this style.  If you're ever in Chicago they are definitely worth a look!

Any suggestions of Art Deco treasures hidden across America that you've stumbled across?


  1. What a treat for the eyes. That court house is classic art deco. Now you are going to have me checking out all the court houses in my travels. I can think of a half a dozen I've taken pictures outside of for one reason or the other but never thought about going inside. Gee, I was in Fargo...had I known.

    1. Fargo, right? I've added it as a stop if we ever get out to Glacier NP from here before we retire. Going to watch a movie in style!

  2. Must admit I do lik eto see som art deco and lik eyou said it is striking when you do look at it.

  3. I like the building, great you went inside and followed your instincts. This is travel too, to explore things you see isn't it?

  4. I love those light fixtures!!!!!
    Box Canyon Mark