With the Harvest Days Festival underway, courthouse tours are set to begin today, offering a unique look at the 115-year-old Starke County Courthouse.
The tours are scheduled today from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. and Sunday from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. These tours have been conducted since 1994, and during that time, more than 5000 people have visited the courthouse’s eight floors and watched as the clock and bell ring out, tolling the time to the residents of Knox.
The 46-inch diameter bell is one of the greatest highlights of the tour. Weighing in at roughly 1460 pounds plus several coats of fresh paint, the bell was recently fitted with a new beam and supports. The previous carriage was rotting away and needed to be replaced, but the new pieces were designed, pinned, and bolted together to match the previous carriage as closely as possible.
While 157 steps might seem like a bit of a climb, the arduous trek is worth it for the bird’s-eye view, allowing visitors to glimpse as far as Wheatfield and Kingsbury.
Visitors on the tour will be able to see different embellishments throughout the building, such as the medieval faces, Indians, and the guardian owls. The “Lady of the Courthouse,” flanked on either side by cast-iron stairs offset by marble steps, can also be seen on the tour, along with the ornate capitals and brackets supporting portions of the ceilings. Even the attic can pique interest, with its steel structures enduring the weight of the tower itself.
For more information on the Starke County Courthouse, visit www.starkehistory.com.