Chesterton Tribune

Porter County Jail Museum on mission to bring back historic statues

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The staff of the historic Porter County Jail Museum located in downtown Valparaiso is on the prowl to find four statues that were once attached to the Porter County Courthouse, but have not been reclaimed since removed sometime in the 1930s.

Porter County Museum Director Kevin Pazour said he is curious to know what happened to the four statues that used to adorn the top of the building: the familiar figure of Lady Justice that stood on the north side, an angel on the south, and two birds, presumably eagles, with their wings spread facing east and west. Pazour said not much is known about the statues themselves but these types of statues were commonly seen on public buildings around the time the courthouse was constructed in 1883.

Pazour presented two older photographs at a recent Porter County Commissioners meeting that verified the statues were perched on top of the courthouse and asked residents to “check their garages.”

Pazour said he was not sure exactly when the statues were removed, but possibly after a large blaze that burned up most of the clock tower on Dec. 27, 1934.

It is possible the statues were damaged in the fire and put into storage.

It is speculated that the statues may have been sold at a public auction earlier in the 1980s when the courthouse underwent a major renovation, Porter County Highway Supervisor Al Hoagland told Pazour after the commissioners’ meeting, but currently there is no documentation from the auctioneer to either confirm or deny the rumor.

The statues are presumably six to eight feet in height, Pazour judged by looking at the photographs and the relative size of the original courthouse building.

Anyone with information on the whereabouts of these statues is urged to contact the museum at (219)465-3585. If found, Pazour said he would like to feature the statues at the Jail Museum, which is located at 153 South Franklin St. in Valparaiso.



Posted 4/21/2010