In 1819, the State of Ohio formally recognized Shelby County, named for Isaac Shelby, veteran of the American Revolution and former governor of Kentucky. The first county seat was located in Hardin, but was moved to Sidney in 1820 to centralize county government. The corner stone of the present courthouse was laid on July 4, 1881. George Maetzel from Columbus served as architect and superintendent of construction. Modeled after the county courthouse in Licking County, the project was completed in 1883 at a cost of $200,000. Materials, such as limestone, sandstone, and marble arrived by canal boat. The French Second Empire style building has four symmetrical sides facing the four points of the compass, each side with pillared porticoes approached by broad stone steps. A figure of Lady Justice holding the scales of equal justice surmounts each facade. The roof is classical mansard, and the center 170-foot tower is of galvanized iron, encompassing four clocks.