When Beltrami County was formally organized in 1897, a store on the corner of Fourth and Beltrami Avenue in Bemidji served as the courthouse and jail. The store was sold and became a drug store after the county built the current courthouse in 1902-03.
The current three-story red brick and sandstone Beaux-Arts style courthouse was built at a cost of $39,975. The Kinney-Detweiler architectural firm from the Twin Cities designed its classic features built by Schmidt Brothers contractors. While the building has a strong central pavilion with portico and smaller end pavilions, it is essentially a 82-foot square.
The space behind the three round windows in the center of the building was originally used as the grand jury room. Above the windows rests a arcaded tower topped with a convex dome and a statue representing blind Justice. The space in which a clock might be located is glassed in and was used as a skywatch observation point during the Cold War.
A large brick and glass addition was built in 1973 for $550,000 to house court and county offices.
The Beltrami County Courthouse, photographed in 1905.
Historical information adapted from "The First 100 Years... The Minnesota State Bar Association."
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