Outside the Woodbury County Courthouse.

A special event is scheduled for noon today to kick off the centennial celebration for the Woodbury County Courthouse in Sioux City.

Curator of history Matt Anderson will give a tour of his exhibit featuring items taken from the courthouse’s 100-year-old time capsule. County spokesman Jim Jung says 5 days of celebration are planned from May 1st through the 5th.

“From out-of-town speakers to tours for students, essays from students, a banquet, and we’ve got a medal being struck for the anniversary,” Jung says. The time capsule contained a treasure trove of historical artifacts from 1918 in addition to items relating to the original courthouse which was built in 1876 — from documents and photos to rare coins.

Inside the Woodbury County Courthouse.

“We’re going to put those things on display in the courthouse so people can see those before the celebration,” Jung says. “Everything was preserved perfectly. We’ve gotten things that are great. We found an original invitation to the dedication ceremony for the cornerstone. On Monday, May 1st, we’ll have a proclamation and re-dedication of the cornerstone.”

The courthouse was designed by William Steele and Jung says it’s the largest public Prairie Style structure in the world. “The courthouse is part art, part architecture,” Jung says. “It interprets for the people and it interprets the law for the people. That’s what it’s all about, those things and then there’s some murals inside do the same thing. All of the other decorations, the terracotta, there’s buffalo heads in the alley, there’s an eagle pointing westward.” Something modern has been added too, a new audio-visual tour of the National Historic Landmark.

(By Woody Gottburg, KSCJ, Sioux City)