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Same court - new steps

October 1, 2012
By John Speer - Editor , Toledo Chronicle, Tama News-Herald

Not the most popular steps to take in a lost of cases, but the nine leading into the main entrance of the Tama County Courthouse in Toledo show they have carried their load in the past 110 years. Some were worn to the point of being cupped, others cracked. The substructure of sandstone was deteriorating.

Weather and wear and the type of material used have all likely played a role - they are to be replaced later this week. New footings were expected to be poured today (Wednesday, Sept. 26).

Curtis and David Janssen of Janssen Waterproofing, Van Horne, said they would probably begin work on Friday, Sept. 28, setting in place the replacement step slabs.

Article Photos

Curtis Janssen and his uncle, David Janssen, of Janssen Waterproofing, Van Horne, work to remove the century-old steps at the main entrance of the Tama County Courthouse in Toledo at noon on Friday, Sept. 21.
Chronicle photos/John Speer

Now, if these steps could talk, the tales of carrying politicians of all stripes and judges and lawyers of all dimensions would emerge.

Those seeking justice - plantins and defendants, alike, have mounted them - some returning back down them victorious, some likely escorted out the back door by the sheriff for a trip down different steps.

Happily or unhappily, divorce clients went up and down them with those occasional couple showing up for a marriage by the judge or magistrate.

Article Map

In the 1950s and 60s the Courthouse hallways served as the display area for the Tama County Historical Society. Then the stairs delivered people to view everything form stuffed wild animals to Civil War uniforms and circus items.

The stairs also provided the route to 5 cent bottles of coca-cola in that era.

To pay your property taxes, get your driver's or vehicle license, these were the steps you took. All the county offices, save for the county engineer, were housed in the Courthouse until the opening of the Administration Building in 2000.

The building since has been devoted exclusively to District and Magistrate court, the clerk of court and County Attorney offices and related services. The Sheriff's Office and Tama County Jail adjoin to the west, having been built in 1992.



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