Meeker County Courthouse History

Meeker County's first courthouse was built in 1860 in Forest City, the county seat at that time.  After several years, the railroad bypassed Forest City and in 1869, Litchfield became the county seat.  Buildings, including the original courthouse, were moved to Litchfield.  The small courthouse was deemed inadequate, but voters refused in 1871, 1879, and 1883 to build a replacement. 

In 1885, voters finally approved the new courthouse, which served the county for almost 90 years.  The courthouse was built in the Italianate style with cream brick and stone at a cost of $20,000.

The current courthouse, pictured above, was completed in 1974.  It is a flat-topped, white stucco building with windows in two deep-cut horizontal bands.  Glass aprons the ground level, slanting diagonally into the plane of the building.  Natural light is also a feature of the other three levels, which open onto a central atrium beneath a large segmented-glass skylight.

Genesis Architects of Willmar drew the plans for the just more than $1 million building.  The cost included $34,000 for a system of interior walls that can be moved and adjusted without cost to meet changing space needs.  In addition, two courtrooms can be combined when necessary.

A long one-story addition stretches from one rear corner, sheltering the parking area from the street and providing additional office space and a garage for county vehicles.

It took four votes and 14 years for Meeker County voters to build their second courthouse, completed in 1885.

Historical information adapted from "The First 100 Years... The Minnesota State Bar Association."

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