Category Archives: Courthouses

Benton County Courthouse (Vinton, Iowa)

Benton County Courthouse (Vinton, Iowa)

The first courthouse in Benton County was made of logs and lacked both a roof and floor, making court sessions extremely difficult during rainy weather. A local log home served as a backup location before a second courthouse was completed in 1852. Within a year, the new facility was destroyed by fire, and a third courthouse was dedicated in December 1856. The current courthouse was constructed in 1906 at a cost of $105,000. The sandstone building is highlighted by its 112-foot high clock and bell tower. It was added to the National Register of Historic Places in 1976.

Union County Courthouse (Creston, Iowa)

The town of Afton was named the seat of Union County in 1855, three years after the county was founded. Shortly after, a two-story frame building was constructed to serve as the county’s first courthouse. As the county grew, more space for the courthouse was needed and a larger brick building was constructed in Afton at a cost of $25,000. In 1890, residents of the growing city of Creston pooled funds to construct a new courthouse for the county. An election made the move official, as Creston officially gained county seat status on November 25, 1890. The present courthouse was constructed of concrete and limestone in 1951, at a cost of $300,000.

Fremont County Courthouse (Sidney, Iowa)

Fremont County’s first brick courthouse was established in the seat of Sidney in 1860 and served the county for nearly three decades before being destroyed by arson May 16, 1888. Though Hamburg and Farragut attempted to gain county seat status, in November 1888, a majority of county voters approved a property tax increase for funds to construct a new courthouse in Sidney at a cost.

In March 1889, S.E. Maxon of Council Bluffs was appointed the architect and the building contract was awarded to a firm in nearby Nebraska City, Nebraska; construction was completed the following year. The Fremont Courthouse, which was added to the National Register of Historic Places in 1966, has seen only a handful of modifications since construction.

Calhoun County Courthouse (Rockwell City, Iowa)

The present Calhoun County Courthouse was built on the square in Rockwell City in 1914. Added to the National Register of Historic Places in 1966, both the interior and exterior have been well-preserved and the building has seen minimal changes since its original construction. A number of restoration projects began in 1982, including stripping and varnishing of the oak woodwork, implementation of a new tile ceiling, and a cleaning and restoration of the beautifully unique stained glass dome ceiling.

Ringgold County Courthouse (Mt. Ayr, Iowa)

By 1921, poor quality of the brick walls and a lack of drain tiles caused dangerous cracks in the forty-year-old Ringgold County Courthouse. That year, it was condemned as unsafe for use by the state architect and county offices were forced to move to a garage building located on the northwest side of the square. The condemned courthouse was demolished and voters were asked to approve construction of a new courthouse in the seat of Mount Ayr.

Five votes were required before a bond issue of $150,000 was approved by voters, with a vote of 2,295 to 1,703. Construction started in September 1926, and the first county offices moved into the new facility in October 1927. Constructed of brick and reinforced concrete, the three-story Ringgold County Courthouse was formally dedicated November 12, 1927. Speakers included Iowa Governor John Hammill, with several Iowa Supreme Court Justices and other state officers present.

Minor changes have been made since the building’s construction, the most notable being the installation of aluminum windows and doors in 1975.