I stopped in to have a look at the McIntosh County Courthouse because it is listed on the National Register of Historic Places--as one of thirteen Beaux Arts Neo Classical courthouses in North Dakota designed by the architectural firm of Buechner & Orth. Constructed in 1919, the courthouse stands in the middle of an open square--easy to find as you drive through town, just look for the dome. When you go inside, you'll find that the rotunda is ornamented impressively--skylit, with four historic murals. Well, sort of historic--some of the scenes may be pretty much made-up to represent ideals (Indians hunting buffalo, pioneer breaking sod). On the other hand, one mural offers a fairly sophisticated view of early agricultural technology, depicting a disc-plow with seeder. The origins of the murals would be worth looking into. Also, I now learn there is another mural in the courtroom, so I have reason to go back, to check that out. In general, the interior fittings of the courthouse make it an interesting place. I like how as you go around back of the building, you encounter the barred door and windows of the jail--nice contrast to the decorative features of the building. The grandeur of the McIntosh County Courthouse reminds me that in the early decades of the last century, a prairie town like Ashley had resources in hands and visions in mind.
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