Miami County still has its beautiful 19th century Courthouse, which is listed on the National Register of Historic Sites. The courthouse was built in 1898 and designed by George Washburn of Ottawa, Kansas, whose courthouses were widely known for a symmetrical design that gave a unique character to the thirteen Kansas county seats that feature his works.
The style of the courthouse is what is known as Romanesque. The foundation of the courthouse is of Carthage Limestone, a stone noted for its toughness, durability and absence of those qualities which cause disintegration by age and exposure to the elements. The walls are built of hydraulic pressed bricks, fire proof and lasting. The roof is black and red slate on tower and gables.
Another feature of the courthouse is the entire absence of tin of sheet iron in the gutters, etc. Every bit of the metal work exposed to weather is of heavy sheet copper, thus insuring indestructiblity and freedom from leakage. The whole interior of the courthouse is of quartered oak, natural finish. These are published statements compiled from the county papers in August, 1898.
The courthouse clock tower didn’t always have a clock. Through the efforts of the Paola Middle School 7th Grade Class of 1979-80, $13,000 was raised to pay for the clock.
Stained glass, ornate oak carved woodwork, and detailed carved stone work are more architectural highlights of the historic Miami County Courthouse.
It is reported that the civil war guerrilla, William Quantrill, leader of the “Lawrence Massacre” in 1863, was jailed in the original building.