With its stately limestone and use of both Ionic and Corinthian columns, the County Courthouse is a superb example of neo-Baroque architecture. The Courthouse was designed by Samuel Hannaford, who was born in England in the spring of 1835, but arrived in Cincinnati with his family at the age of nine. It was there he studied architecture at Farmer’s College and started an apprenticeship with fellow architect John R. Hamilton. After three years he ventured to begin his own architectural business. Most of Hannaford’s major works are situated in the Cincinnati area, but he designed family homes, churches, and government buildings throughout the Midwest and New England.
At the time Hannaford’s vision for Terre Haute was coming into view, the Vigo County Courthouse was housed in a brick building at 3rd and Ohio. It was supposed to be a temporary location after moving from the 1818 original Courthouse. However, more than 20 years passed before the first cornerstone was placed for the new building. Hannaford’s design was dedicated on June 7, 1888. It was the first of four Courthouses designed by Samuel Hannaford before he retired from his firm in 1904.