Lancaster, Wisconsin

On my way from the Effigy Mounds to Dubuque, I missed a turn and ended up heading into Lancaster, Wisconsin. I passed by a sign announcing that it was the “City of the Dome,” and as I rounded a bend into town, I spotted a rich red and orange building peeking through the greenery of the town.

The Grant County Courthouse is easily one of the most beautiful courthouses I have seen, designed by Armand Koch in 1905 in the Beaux-Arts style. But it is atypical in that it eschews white marble and instead uses that orange brick with rich red terracotta, capped off with the spectacular bronze and glass dome.

The storefronts around the square are in the Italianate style, though some have received mid-century slipcovers. They are mostly occupied, which is fortunate out in the country, where many small towns have deserted downtowns.

And as soon as I spotted it, I saw the influences of Louis Sullivan immediately. However, the architects are Louis W. Claude and Edward F. Starcke out of Madison, Wisconsin.

Also, as I suspected, it was originally constructed as a theater, the Grantland.

I also spotted this amazing octagonal bay window with its original millwork. I suspect that there were windows originally under the lunette lintels.

There are also some amazing houses, such as this Italianate house below with a Second Empire turret out the front.

This Queen Anne style house has probably lost some of its ornate millwork to rot, but its proportions are still intact and that house still works.

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