Justice by Design
The court house was built in 1904. The original court house was built along with the jail in 1845; however, it burned down in 1903. This court house is built on the same foundation as the original, except that it is almost twice the size. This court house was built for $4495.
It is still all the original lathe and plaster, all the original woodwork and the original tin ceiling. The tongue and groove woodwork is Douglas fir and the pillars are rock maple. The public gallery benches are the originals. The chandelier is not original to the building; however, it is similar to the original. It came from a local church.
When the architect, Watson Reid from Harvey, designed the courthouse, he wanted the witness and prisoner chairs to be visible from every seat, which is why all benches and railings are open. The lower public gallery was for men only. At that time, women were only permitted in the upper balcony unless they were called as a witness and did not make up the jury. The last case heard in the court house was in the 1960’s and it is now used primarily as an event venue.
The most high profile case held in this courthouse was that of Tom Collins. (See the Tom Collins Story)