Built in 1886 at a cost of $132,500, the Romanesque-style Mahaska County Courthouse sits on the east side of the square in downtown Oskaloosa, Iowa. Only one major change has been made to the courthouse since its construction, when the clock tower was lowered in 1934. The 125-year-old building was added to the National Register of Historic Places in 1981.
The Mitchell County Courthouse in Osage was constructed in 1858, making it one of the oldest operating courthouses in the state of Iowa. The longevity of the courthouse is especially impressive given the controversy at the time of opening.
Per the Mitchell County website, the original county seat was located in nearby Mitchell, due to its central location within the county. The people of Osage objected, an election was held, and Osage was victorious. The victory was not without controversy, however, as rumors suggested votes for Osage were “bought and paid for with merchandise.”
To help their case for the courthouse, Osage constructed a courthouse and jail in 1858, with the agreement to give them to the county when construction was completed. In addition, Osage conspired with Charles City, a community vying to become the county seat of the adjacent Floyd County. To make both cities more centrally located within their respective county, a three-mile strip of Floyd County was given to Mitchell County.
In the ensuing years, Mitchell’s population has dwindled, with 155 residents as of the 2000 census. Mitchell lost its post office in 2004.
The cornerstone of the Shelby County Courthouse was laid in August 1892, officially kicking off the $63,000 construction project in downtown Harlan, Iowa. A 20-foot-tall was originally present in the center of the courthouse, which was officially dedicated in 1893. Following the removal of the tower in 1899, the courthouse remained largely unchanged for nearly 80 years. In 1978, an elevator was installed as part of a major interior renovation. The courthouse is one of 40 in Iowa built before 1900.
The majestic Taylor County Courthouse sits one block north of Main Street in Bedford in Southwest Iowa. Local Bedford limestone lines this historic courthouse, which dates to 1892 and was constructed at a cost of $39,000. Its most remarkable feature is the towering white clock tower; according to the Bedford community website, locals refer to the courthouse as the “Majestic Lady with the White Crown.”
Feelings are mixed among the 12,000 residents in Wright County, Iowa, has gained national attention due to the infamous egg recall. Some are supportive of the Wright County Eggs operation and point to the jobs created in the area. Others lament the loss of family farms in favor of large egg factories.
The Wright County Courthouse, which sits on the square in Clarion, was built in 1891 and renovated in the mid-1970s. The red brick building was added to the National Register of Historic Places in 1981.