In 1883, O.H. Myron and the village of Ada offered to build a courthouse that the county would rent for three years at a cost of $430 a year. The county accepted. Myron built the two-story frame building on land donated by the town at the corner of Third Avenue and Second Street. Myron, five other businessmen, and the Norwegion Lutheran Church paid for it. In 1885, the county bought the building for $2,400 and used it until it built a new courthouse on the same block in 1904.
The new courthouse that Meyer and Thori of St. Paul designed is a textbook example of Richardsonian Romanesque Revival, even though it was completed 10 years after the highpoint of the style's popularity. The 90 by 90 foot, pressed brown brick building is accented by sandstone. It has a tall, square, central tower with peaked corner pavilions and a gabled central section with wide arched windows at its second level. Olaf Swenson of St. Paul built it at a cost of $60,637.
Some of the original features remain, including marble wainscoting, granite steps in the front entry, the high central atrium, and most of the 15-foot ceilings. However, there have been alterations over the years. For example, the courtroom ceiling has been lowered and a jury room added behind the judges' bench.
In 1975, a 50 by 80 foot building of similar brick was added to the rear of the original structure at a cost of $310,000.
Historical information adapted from "The First 100 Years... The Minnesota State Bar Association."
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