In 1969, the Old Courthouse was vacated and was no longer operational after the county government offices were moved to the new Civic Center Complex. Despite efforts to demolish the courthouse in an attempt to modernize downtown it was the sheer cost of the proposed razing that helped spare it. The county instead leased the building to a group of citizens who formed the Conrad Baker Foundation for the purpose of saving, restoring and placing the building back into public use.
The Conrad Baker Foundation operated the “Old Courthouse Center” along with the former Vanderburgh County Sheriff’s Residence and Jail as a home for non-profits, artistic retail and public reception rooms. It was a grassroots effort funded solely through rental income, donations, and fundraisers. Many remember the building coming to life during this time with fundraising events such as “New York, New York”.
In 1990 the organization’s name was changed to the Old Courthouse Preservation Society.
Faced with financial challenges, the Preservation Society relinquished management of the Old Courthouse to the County in 2000.
Today, the Old Courthouse remains open and vibrant under the management of the Vanderburgh County Board of Commissioners. Preservation and restoration are a collaborative effort between the Old Courthouse Foundation and Vanderburgh County. The County Engineer and Veteran Service offices are still located in the building while the remaining office space is leased for private business use. The Old Courthouse is also a sought-after event venue with the recently restored Ballroom, Randall T. Shepard Courtroom and Governor’s parlor available for private parties and events.
Foundation Board Members
Hahn Kiefer Real Estate Services
President & Managing Broker
Larry A. Bristow
Old Courthouse Docent
Conrad Baker Foundation
Former Executive Director
Board of Commissioners' Chief Deputy