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One of Butler County’s most historic structures was almost lost in a blaze that killed 3 firefighters

Published: Monday, April 15, 2019 @ 4:31 PM

The historic Butler County Courthouse on High Street in downtown Hamilton caught fire on March 14, 1912 and killed three firefighters.  JOURNAL-NEWS FILE PHOTO
The historic Butler County Courthouse on High Street in downtown Hamilton caught fire on March 14, 1912 and killed three firefighters. JOURNAL-NEWS FILE PHOTO

The historic Butler County Courthouse has survived many severe storms, flooding and other natural disasters. The most serious was a blaze that killed three firefighters.

On March 14, 1912, Butler County’s historic courthouse at 101 High St. in Hamilton burned, and lost its original clock tower — a four-tiered, onion-shaped cupola.

That area history was brought to mind on Monday as the world watched the devastating fire at the Notre Dame de Paris cathedral in Paris.

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PHOTO GALLERY
16 amazing black-and-white photos of the historic Butler County Courthouse

The courthouse took several years to build, from 1885 to 1889, and its elements were examples of Second Empire architecture.

County officials laid the building’s cornerstone on Oct. 29, 1885, but required state funds via legislation sponsored by then Sen. George Elliott, of Butler County. It was complete by February 1889.

A year after the courthouse fire, the Great Miami River region experienced a disastrous flood and the courthouse served as a temporary  morgue when more than 200 people died in the 1913 flood, which occurred on March 25 and 26, 1913.
Photo of the historic Butler County courthouse fire on March 14, 1912 in Hamilton. JOURNAL-NEWS FILE PHOTO
Photo of the historic Butler County courthouse fire on March 14, 1912 in Hamilton. JOURNAL-NEWS FILE PHOTO
Photo of the historic Butler County courthouse fire on March 14, 1912 in Hamilton. JOURNAL-NEWS FILE PHOTO
Photo of the historic Butler County courthouse fire on March 14, 1912 in Hamilton. JOURNAL-NEWS FILE PHOTO