Lancaster, "City of the Dome"

The City of Lancaster is located in the southwest corner of Wisconsin. It is known as the "City of the Dome" for the beautiful Grant County Courthouse in the center of downtown. I was enamored by how the city has preserved its old architecture. It is the county seat of the picturesque Grant County in the extreme southwest corner of the state. Nelson Dewey, the first governor of Wisconsin, is buried in the city. Visitors have recommended you enjoy an interesting walking tour of 31 different historical highlights on or near the Grant County Courthouse Square.

November 27, 2016


Built in 1902, this is the historic copper-domed Grant County Courthouse building located at 126 West Main Street in Lancaster, Wisconsin. Designed by Armand D. Koch in the Classical Revival style, it was built of red sandstone. On October 19, 1978, it was added to the National Register of Historic Places. It was patterned after St. Peter’s Basilica in Rome. The Courthouse is located on a unique square in downtown Lancaster, the site of the first Civil War monument in the United States. I did not go inside, but once you see a couple indoor shots I have found on the internet, you will want to. Inside visitors will find G.A.R. and Civil War memorabilia.

As an aside, Visitors have recommended you enjoy an interesting walking tour of 31 different historical highlights on or near the Grant County Courthouse Square. You can obtain an informational pictorial booklet entitled, “Lancaster’s Historic Courthouse Square” at City Hall (206 S. Madison St.).


Lancaster calls itself "The City of the Dome" after the octagonal glass and copper-clad dome of its courthouse, which was designed by Armand Koch and built in 1905 in the Classical Revival Style. In the spandrels of the courthouse dome are four allegorical murals painted by Franz Edward Rohrbeck. Rohrbeck also painted a large mural, "The Spirit and Strength of Wisconsin," at the Wisconsin State Capitol.


A photographer with
Art of Photography, Grant County, Lancaster, Wisconsin, took this photo of the interior of the dome. This is a spectacular shot and I commend you to that website.


This is another view photographed by Ben Russell and shown on CaptureWisconsin, the Best of Wisconsin in Photography. This should give you cause to want to go inside. I also commend this website to you.


This is the "Blue Boy" Civil War statue on the courthouse square and is only one of the two like it in the nation. The statue has a fountain attached, which was put there in 1906 by the Women’s Relief Corps. The statue is a tribute to soldiers who served in the Civil War. It was the first Civil War monument erected in the state, put up in 1867.

I'd now like to walk you through the city. I'll try explain what intrigued me about the buildings.


Doolittle's Pub and Eatery is a favorite stop-spot for residents and visitors. I was drawn to those columns on the second floor.


I wish I were smart enough to identify the style.


Madison Street, looks like any old Wisconsin town, right? Well yes that is probably right. There are a few things I'd like to point out however.


See those brick arches above the windows, made from brick, and my guess is sandstone again. This is referred to as a Roman (semi-circular) arch. Many older brick homes in the state used this style. Also note the roof-line ornaments, or more properly roof-line elaborations, or even more technically, roof-line balustrades.


Two features popped out to me here. Note the facing of the wall to the right. I wonder what material that is. And the arches around the windows in the building center photo, beautiful. The roof-line balustrade is also wonderful. Often these were used to make the building look taller than it is. I cannot tell from here.

I will probably make this remark when I show photos of almost all interesting towns I have visited: Study the architecture and really study what it's all about when you get home. Then when you visit these towns, you can show off some brilliance which I have not been able to do! Good hunting.