Prior to the building of Aitkin's first formal courthouse in 1888, the county leased a schoolhouse for court proceedings. In 1887, Alexander Grant was awarded the construction contract to build the first courthouse based on his low bid of $13,200. The Pauley Jail Building Co. submitted plans for the jail. One of the state's 24 legally-sanctioned hangings took place there in 1903 when Ole G. Olsson was executed for killing his daughter.
In 1920, a grand jury reported the 32-year-old building to be dangerous and "falling apart." County commissioners began planning for a new courthouse, but an injunction prevented the county board from issuing construction bonds. A new building was finally built in 1929 on the site of the old courthouse after commisisioners spread the building's debt over 10 years in advance of construction.
The current three-story courthouse (pictured above), was designed by the St. Paul firm of Toltz, King and Day, and was built for $155,000. The white face-brick and Bedford limestone building is a classic-style building falling between Beaux-Arts and Moderne. Its interior mixes marble wainscoting, oak woodwork, terrazzo floors, and stained glass skylights.
Crowds gather for the 1929 dedication of the current Aitkin County Courthouse.
Aitkin's first formal courthouse was completed in 1888 at a cost of $13,200.
Historical information adapted from "The First 100 Years... The Minnesota State Bar Association."
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