HISTORY OF FAIRFIELD COUNTY

CHAPTER XII.

PUBLIC BUILDINGS.

     COURT HOUSES.---Fairfield county's first court house was built in
1806, and occupied in 1807.  Four years had elapsed since the first
court of common pleas had convened in the county, during which the
courts were held in log cabins. The new temple of justice was a two-story 
brick, and stood in the center of Broadway, on the north side of Main
street. It was one of the first structures of the kind then complete in
the state. The brick were made by Sosthenus McCabe---it is said at
$2.50 per thousand.
     In the first story was the court room, the seats being arranged in
amphitheatre form. In the second story were two jury rooms, reached
by a flight of winding stairs.  The roof was conical, and "hipped,"
and surmounted by a balcony and steeple. A fine bell hung in the 
balcony. The building was used for nearly sixty years, and was 
condemned by the county commissioners, in 1864, on account of its 
supposed dampness, the floor resting near the ground.  Soon after the
war, it was torn down, and the fears of dampness proved unfounded,
by the remarkable dryness of the floor-lumbers.  For the three years
between the demolition of this venerable edifice, and the completion of
its successor, the commissioners rented the basement of the German
Reformed Church, on Chestnut street, for the sitting of the courts. At
a very early day, a two-story brick was built on the south side of Main
street, and in the southeast part of the public square. This building
contained four rooms, and was used by the county officers for several
years. It was called, for political reasons, probably, the "Red Lodge,"
though the exact origin of this sobriquet is not now known. The 
postoffice was kept in the lower story, for a time. After the removal of
the county offices, and also a small book store, the Fairfield Telegraph
newspaper was published in the upper story, for about three years, in
connection with the telegraph office. After the removal of Judge Irwin
to his farm, south of town, the county commissioners purchased his
large brick dwelling, on the north side of the square, and devoted
it to county uses. This arrangement was in effect between 1843 and
1850. Soon after the purchase of the property, a stone vault was built
on the premises, in conformity with a statute providing, for the safe 
custody of the books and funds of county treasurers. In this place the
offices were continued until the completion of the new court house, in
1871. The Irwin house, known for more than twenty years, as the
"county building," was used as a high school, for some time after its
vacation by the county officials, and finally sold by the county, for five
thousand dollars.
     The new court house was completed in 1871, about four years from

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the time the ground was first broken for the foundation.   Immediately 
after the condemnation of the old court house, the county
commissioners began to move in the matter of erecting a suitable court
house, large enough to contain all the county officers. The choice of a
site was a matter of some difficulty, and, while pending, occasioned
much discussion. The northeast corner of Main and High streets was
finally decided to be the most eligible site, and the ground was pur-
chased from John S. Brazee. for $5,000. An adjoining lot, on the east,
was subsequently bought, of John Randolph, and added to the first
purchase.  The whole was inclosed with a strong stone wall, surmounted 
by an iron fence. A special act of the legislature was secured,
which authorized a levy on the county duplicate for $100,000, for build-
ing the court house, and the funds were raised by the sale of county
bonds. The plan was drawn by Jacob Carman, architect, of Lancaster, 
who directed the construction from the first. The corner-stone of
the new court house was laid with appropriate ceremonies, and a large
number of articles deposited therein. Among them were the names of
county, state and national officials, religious and secular newspapers,
religious pamphlets and books, several bottles of wine, and the
names of the teachers and pupils of the Lancaster high school.
     When the house was finished, its cost was found to have exceeded
the original appropriation by more than $50,000, but this amount was
levied and collected without trouble, the public being fully satisfied with
the quality of the work. The Fairfield county court house is entirely
of Waverly sand-stone, quarried in sight of the structure, and is three
stories high. The basement story is occupied by the heating apparatus,
rooms for storage, and the living apartments of the janitor. The main
hall, on the second floor is paved with marble, and fronting it are the
offices of the auditor, treasurer, surveyor, probate judge and recorder
of the county. The common pleas court room is on the third floor of
the south end. The jury rooms and the county clerk's office are on the
right and left of the hall, at the north end. The inside work of the 
edifice, is all of hard wood. From the roof, a fine view of the city, the 
romantic country around it, and of a portion of Hocking valley, is 
obtained.
     JAILS.---The first jail was built of logs, and stood in the northwest
corner of the present jail grounds. It was erected probably about 1802,
though the exact date is unknown, there being no record on this 
subject. The jail had but one room, and was, at that time, considered
very strong ; but prisoners sometimes escaped from it, notwithstanding.
A man and woman, confined there once, escaped in a single night, by
prying up the puncheon floor, and borrowing out under the logs. About
1816, a two-story brick jail was built on the south side of the jail
grounds, fronting on, and close to the pavement of Chestnut street---
nearly in front of the present jail. The west end was occupied by the
family of the sheriff. There was a single prison-room below, where
all prisoners were confined, besides a dungeon, for such as were 
condemned to solitary confinement on bread and water---a punishment
more common than now.  In the east end of the second story was
the debtors' prison, as debtors were not kept with other offenders.
A debtor might, by furnishing a bondsman, be allowed liberty within

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prescribed bounds.  The limit of this privilege was, sometimes,
only the narrow jail-yard, sometimes a mile square, and again the
township. If he overstepped the line, inadvertently or otherwise,
his bondsman became personally responsible for the debt.
     This jail was torn down in 1852, and replaced by the one now in
use. The new structure is of sand-stone, two stories in height, and
provided with strong cells, and large corridors for exercise. The female 
department is in the second story, and is sometimes used for confining 
the milder class of male prisoners, when not otherwise occupied.
The sheriff's residence, in front, is a two-story brick, with all the 
appointments of a comfortable dwelling. The sheriffs office, a one-story
brick, is at the east end. Communication with the jail is through the
hall of the dwelling. A high, iron fence, which, in itself, is a very
good prison, surrounds the jail-yard.
     THE COUNTY INFIRMARY.---The necessity for a county infirmary
was felt about 1827. Previous to that time, such persons as became
county charges, were cared for in their respective townships, by officers
called "overseers of the poor," who let out the contract for the keeping 
of each pauper, to the lowest bidder; such contract running one
year. The conditions were that the mendicant should receive adequate
food, comfortable clothing, and competent medical attendance. The
county infirmary is situated two and a half miles north of Lancaster,
and the farm contains one hundred and seventy acres of land. The
first buildings were erected in 1828, and were of frame. In 1840, these
were removed, and a two-story brick building placed on the same site.
The dimensions of the new "poor-house" were then sufficient to accom-
modate the county poor, as well as provide a residence for the superin-
tendent. From time to time thereafter, out-buildings were erected, the
main building enlarged, and various accessories provided, the better to
conduce to the welfare, and make the place more attractive to visitors.
The present value of buildings and grounds, is about $17,000. The
infirmary is under the control of three directors, whose tenure of office
is three years, the term being so arranged that one new director is
elected each year. The office of superintendent of the infirmary is filled
by this board, no time being fixed, the incumbent retaining his place
solely by pleasure of the board. He resides in the institution, and has
immediate charge of the inmates, attendants, and all properties 
belonging to the premises.
     The annual expense of the institution, at present, is about $12,000.
This does not include outside support, nor outside medical attendance ;
two items which, last year, amounted to about $1,000. A common
school is maintained in the infirmary, in which the common English
branches are taught by an inmate---the county incurring no expense
therefor, other than that of the few books required. The number of
inmates in the infirmary, February 1st, 1881, were: males, seventy;
females, fifty-four; and of this number, there were twenty boys, and
twelve girls. Of the whole number of inmates, there were thirty idiots,
two blind, two epiliptics, and fifty-eight infirm.  Eight were above the
age of eighty; and sixteen were over seventy years. The expenses of
the institution would be vastly increased but for the farming, stock
raising, and fruit culture largely carried on by the inmates.

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   THE CITY HALL, OF LANCASTER, is of brick, three stories high, and
was built in 1859. It stands on the former site of the old Red Lodge,
before mentioned, south side of Main Street and on the southeast part
of the public square. The third story is the Hall of Charity Lodge
No. 7, I. O. O. F. The lodge loaned money to the city, towards the
erection of the building, conditionally that the city should provide the
Odd Fellows with a suitable meeting place. For this the city receives
a fixed rental. The second floor contains one room, which is called the
City Hall, and is used for public meetings of various kinds.  It has
a stage and scenery. The hall has been a source of considerable revenue 
to the city. The front or north apartment of the lower story has
been used as a post office, for twenty years. The middle division con-
tains the Mayor's office and the city council chamber. The south part
is set apart for the fire engine and hose. When first erected, the third
floor of the building was pronounced unsafe. The ceiling sank, and
examination showed that the girders and roof timbers were not well 
secured to the walls. Iron girders were used, and ten iron pillars set in
the audience chamber, which averted the danger.
     The old Market House, is situated on the west division of the 
public square, and was built in 1824. It is two stories high. The south
room of the second story was used as city council chamber, until the
erection of the City-Hall, and for various other purposes. The north
room was a Masonic Hall for many years, and is now used by a 
building association, for its weekly meetings.  The lower rooms have
always been used as a meat market, and the sheds and adjacent 
pavements, form the general market space. The regular markets have
sometimes been suspended for a whole year, and the building has fre-
quently been threatened with destruction, which, however, has not yet
overtaken it.

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