A courthouse square was first set aside in 1854, when Goodhue County's commissioners held their first meeting "on a lumber pile." However, public and court business took place in the law office of Philander Sandford until 1859, when the courthouse was completed.
The first courthouse was built with red brick and stone at a cost of $26,666. It was criticized at the time as an extravagance. The building was still sound when it was torn down 72 years later to make room for the new courthouse.
The second courthouse was a monumental Moderne building, dating back to 1932. The authoritarian, bulky building had flattened, fluted pilasters at the entrance, an incised figure of Justice, and other decoration across the top. Windows were arranged formally and recessed between verticals that echoed classic columns rising to a heavy parapet. Buechner and Orth of Minneapolis, in association with E.D. Corwin, designed the building that was built by Standard Construction Co., Inc. of Minneapolis. The three-story granite building cost $275,000.
Goodhue County's second courthouse was built in 1932.
This photograph shows the original Goodhue County Courthouse as it looked in 1905.
Historical information adapted from "The First 100 Years... The Minnesota State Bar Association."
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