History of the Courthouse
The first Courthouse was built in the newly platted town of Bowling Green in 1828, soon after Clay County was formed by the Indiana legislature. It was a two story structure of hand hewn logs.
By the late 1830ís Clay County had grown to the extent that the first Courthouse could no longer provide adequate facilities. Therefore a second Courthouse was constructed near the first Courthouse. This was a two story brick structure. This Courthouse served until destroyed by fire on the night of November 30, 1851.
Although some citizens believed Bowling Green was no longer the most practical or logical site for a new courthouse, the commissioners quickly decided to build the third courthouse on the site of the previous one in Bowling Green. Built of brick, at a cost of $11,000, and very similar to the previous courthouse, the new Courthouse began serving the county in the Fall of 1853.
In 1912 John W. Gaddis, a prominent architect in Vincennes, Indiana, entered into a contract with the County Commissioners to design, plan, and oversee the construction of a new courthouse. The construction bid of W.H. Bailey and Charles A. Koemer of Louisville, Kentucky was accepted in 1912 with the cornerstone being laid in the fall of 1912. Gaddis had successfully completed several others: in Fairfield and Robinson, Illinois: Perryville, Missouri and two in Indiana, the Putnam County Courthouse in Greencastle (1905) and the Huntington County Courthouse (1906) in Huntington, which are also in Classical Revival mode.
During the restoration project, workmen discovered that wooden panels had been placed in circular openings†in the four sides of the dome where clocks could be installed. Through the years this knowledge had been forgotten. A second fund-raiser was immediately initiated by Clay Civic Memorial Foundation to pay for clocks and their installation. The funds were raised quickly, all by Memorial gifts. Four lighted clocks were installed by the Omega Clock Company of Indianapolis at a cost of $18,500, electrified by Scott Electrical Services of Brazil, Indiana, and were in operation by November 26, 1986.