The first courthouse in Renville County was built at Beaver Falls in 1872. It was a small stone building costing $2,000 originally built as a jail. A 40 by 60 foot frame building was completed for $3,939 in 1889, when the earlier building again became a jail.
When Olivia won one of the ongoing battles for county seat in 1895, court convened in a local business building. A court decision that returned the seat to Beaver Falls lasted two years. In 1900, Olivia won and retained the seat. Two years later, a courthouse, shown above, was designed by Fremont D. Orff of Minneapolis and built at a cost of $88,000.
The architect combined several styles. The two stories and tower of red brick are trimmed with yellow stone that appears in quoins, belt courses, and window surrounds, as well as the central portico and solid rusticated high basement. The blue-green copper segmented domes over the corner pavilions and the central tower suggest French Second Empire. However, the center pavilion with its balustered porch, fluted columns, and classic, oculus-pierced pediment is in the Georgian style.
In 1933, federal money for work relief repaired and redecorated the building. Various updates and preservation projects have taken place since then. Still, except for different roofing material and the removal of a small spindle railing around the roof, the oustide looks much as it did in 1902.
Historical information adapted from "The First 100 Years... The Minnesota State Bar Association."
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