Pine County's first courthouse was a frame building located in the Chippewa village and trading post of Chengwatana, then the county seat. The courthouse burned in 1870.
In 1872, the county seat was moved to Pine City by popular vote and a new courthouse was built. When the more elaborate courthouse was completed in 1886 in the square to the south, the first small building was moved from Main Street and used as a residence.
The 1886 frame courthouse cost $10,000 to build. By the 1930s, electric lighting and steam heat had replaced the original kerosene lamps and wood stoves. The towered, Romanesque Revival style building had been a problem since the first contractor, John F. Stone, had failed to finish the job he won on a bid of $7,172 and James Hurley had to take over and complete it. Nevertheless, many people regretted the building's passing when lightning struck it in 1952, causing it to burn.
The next Pine County courthouse was originally built to be a city hall. The plain, yellow brick, two-story rectangle was built with the help of the Federal Emergency Administration of Public Works in 1939. Pine City had become nervous about losing its status as county seat to Hinckley because of the need for better county office space. Hinckley had lost the county seat vote by a small margin years earlier. So Pine City gave its new city hall to the county.
In a 1954 bond issue, the county raised $160,000 for a new courthouse. It was built of identical brick on the north end of the one-time city hall, using the same marble wainscoting and terrazzo floors, but with an entrance on the north. The words "court house" were carved over the entrance.
Pine County District Court started using its newest courthouse (pictured above) on Oct. 22, 2007.
Historical information adapted from "The First 100 Years... The Minnesota State Bar Association."
Return to Pine County District Court