Category Archives: Courthouses

Cherokee County Courthouse (Cherokee, Iowa)

Cherokee was chosen as the town seat of Cherokee County in northwest Iowa in 1861. By 1864, the county’s first courthouse was erected in Cherokee, a square, frame building constructed from local black walnut logs. As the building aged and more space was needed, the initial proposal to construct a new courthouse failed on the ballot in 1881. The vote was favorable 10 years later and the second courthouse, constructed with brick, limestone, granite, and slate, was completed in 1892. This Romanesque-style building was torn down in early 1965 to allow construction of a modern, split-level courthouse for Cherokee County. Construction on the $500,000 facility was complete in October 1966.

Emmet County Courthouse (Estherville, Iowa)

In February 1954, a grand jury of seven Emmet County residents voted unanimously to recommend the construction of a new courthouse following a report that the existing, 70-year-old courthouse was “inadequate, a fire hazard and a detriment of all citizens of the county should it burn.” Within a month, a special election was approved by the county supervisors and over two-thirds of voters favored building a new $350,000 structure in the November election.

Plans were drawn for the proposed courthouse, but by February 1956, the lowest bid received was more than $70,000 over the $350,000 approved in the election. A second vote to increase the building fund failed by a 10 to one margin, sending the county supervisors back to architect James A. Dougher of Des Moines to redo plans in attempt to secure a lower bid. On March 19, 1957 a revised bid was received that met the county’s budget, and the cornerstone to the new structure was laid Friday, May 30, 1957.

Construction was completed fifteen months later, and the new Emmet County Courthouse building was officially dedicated in front of an estimated crowd of 1,500 on September 14, 1958. Following the dedication, guided tours were given of the new building and dedication brochures were distributed.

Worth County Courthouse (Northwood, Iowa)

The current Worth County Courthouse was completed in 1893, across the street from the modest two-story brick courthouse that was constructed 13 years earlier and still open as a museum today. The courthouse was remodeled and expanded to the east in 1938 with funds as part of the Works Progress Administration, and in 1990, a one-story addition containing a new jail, courtroom and offices was attached to the northwest portion of the facility. The historic courthouse was added to the National Register of Historic Places in 1981.

Monona County Courthouse (Onawa, Iowa)

The Monona County Courthouse in Onawa in western Iowa dates to 1892, when construction was completed on the brick building with stone trim. The Richardson Romanesque building was designed by S.E. Maxon, who also designed the courthouse in Greenfield in Adair. The building saw additions in 1967 and 1973, along with the construction of an annex in 1981 for additional court and human services facilities. The Monona County Courthouse was added to the National Register of Historic Places in 1981.