The Ottumwa Courier

September 26, 2012

Purchase of Constitution display OK’d

Large, lithographed copy of the document to be in Wapello County Courthouse

Courier Staff Writer

OTTUMWA — A new document will soon hang in the Wapello County Courthouse — though perhaps “new” is not the right word.

The Wapello County Board of Supervisors approved the purchase of a large, lithographed copy of the U.S. Constitution. After reading about it in the newspaper, said Supervisor Steve Siegel, the Wapello County Democratic Party stepped forward to pay for the framed document.

On Tuesday, as part of the regular session of the board, the supervisors welcomed area veterans to step forward along with representatives of the Democratic Party.

A plaque on the print thanks Wapello County veterans, past, present and future for their service.

Gary Stephenson of Fort Dodge said the prints were produced in the 1930s. His father found them in Chicago and decided to put one in every courthouse in the state. The prints weren’t free, nor was the framing, but Gary, 59, and his father felt there’d be enough interest in each community that they could get sponsors.

After his father died, Gary took over the mission. Between him and his dad, they’ve made progress. With 99 counties in Iowa, he now only has 25 courthouses to go.