Final Days of the 1884 Seneca County Courthouse
by Lisa Swickard
About the Book
When local politicians opt to destroy a community's historic structures, it robs future generations of a part of its identity.
"DECOMMISSIONED: Final Days of the 1884 Seneca County Courthouse" is a 200-page, pictorial book that follows the day-to-day demolition of the massive Beaux Arts-style courthouse that stood in the center of historic downtown Tiffin, Ohio, for 127 years. To date, it is the only Ohio courthouse on the National Register of Historic Places ever to be razed.
The book begins with an overview of the 10-year battle between preservationists and politicians in regard to renovation vs. demolition. Even Ohio Gov. John Kasich requested that the commissioners refrain from demolishing such a grand structure.
The body of the book is a heart-breaking reality check of what can happen when people choose not to take on the proverbial City Hall. Interspersed throughout are the harsh reminders that two commissioners also chose to not to salvage the valuable carved woodwork and irreplaceable Vermont limestone tiles that gave the palace of justice its distinctive opulence. The reader will have a first-hand look at those rare artifacts being ripped from the building or left to flounder in a sea of debris.
"DECOMMISSIONED" is a must-have for preservation-minded individuals everywhere. As a teaching tool, it is a study about the importance of preserving our historic structures. For those with architectural interests, this is a rare find as the book offers the reader unique cross-section views of the courthouse's sturdy construction and architectural details.