In 1855, the Black Hawk County Board of Commissioners opted to move the county seat from Cedar Falls to Waterloo. The first county courthouse was constructed shortly after, and a second courthouse was constructed in 1902. As the second courthouse aged, according to a 1960 Waterloo Courier article, concerns grew over falling plaster and sagging floors, plus inefficient water and electrical systems.
That year, Black Hawk County voters approved a bond issue for construction of a third courthouse at a cost of $2 million. The vote was passed by a razor-thin margin, receiving 60.35% approval, just a fraction more than the 60% required to approve a bond issue under Iowa law. It was the second time residents voted on a courthouse proposal in less than two years; the first proposal failed due to a controversy over the planned location.
The modern red and black polished stone courthouse was completed in 1964. Offices were moved to the courthouse beginning in late July, and an open house was held October 11.