My first stop on my journey throughout northwest Ohio was my hometown of
Bryan, Ohio. Bryan was my home from the age of six weeks until my
family moved to Findlay, Ohio when I was eighteen years old. I had
always said that I couldn't wait to get out of Bryan and I would never
return. However, I find myself wishing that I could go back and spend
a weekend there in our old house with many of my friends I haven't seen
since high school graduation. I miss the small town atmosphere as
well as the pride that every Bryanite holds for our hometown.
Bryan is situated in the most northwest county known as Williams County and is the county seat. The approximate population of Bryan is around 9,000 within its land area of 10,293 square kilometers (Bryan-Ohio.com). For such a small town there is a lot of history behind the courthouse square and the industry that has come out of Bryan. Many of my childhood memories are focused around the downtown square, which consists of an entire city block devoted to the county courthouse with the streets lined with many storefronts. Several city activities revolved around the town square, such as the annual Jubilee, Santa's parade, and the homecoming parade. The "square" (as every Bryanite calls the downtown area) definitely adds to the small town atmosphere.
The Ohio Senate approved the Williams County Courthouse for construction to begin in March of 1888. The architect who was chosen for the job was E. O. Fallis of Toledo and his ideas drew upon combining French Baroque and Romanesque Revival styles. Fallis scheduled the foundation stone to be laid in October of 1888. The cornerstone of the courthouse was laid on April 30, 1889, which was the centennial of the inauguration of George Washington as the first president.
The Williams County Courthouse was 160 feet high and cost $185,000, which included furniture. Raw materials were shipped in from Chicago and stonecutters were brought in from Scotland. The floors, stairs and wainscoting of the courthouse are made of Georgia marble. The offices within the courthouse were opened for business in the summer of 1891. I think that Cooley and Maynard said it best when quoted as saying, "Ever since then, the courthouse has been an integral part in the experiences of anyone who lives in Bryan." In 1973, the Williams County Courthouse was entered into the National Registry of Historic Places.
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