After Douglas County was formally organized in 1866, court was held for several years in a small frame building on Main Street occupied by the Alexandria Post. The present courthouse square was donated by the widow of William E. Hicks, an Alexandria developer. Ms. Hicks made the donation in 1875 on condition that a courthouse costing not less than $3,500 be built upon it before January, 1878. County commissioners accepted the conditions and approved a bid of $3,447 by Raymond & Owen of St. Cloud to build a two-story frame courthouse.
A fund started in the 1880s by a county auditor allowed the 1895 completion of the towered brick courthouse (pictured above) without the need for issuing bonds. Because "the county was suffering from a serious industrial depression, cost of material and labor was at a low figure...for this reason Douglas County was able to erect her present handsome courthouse...for the sum of $35,000." The oak woodwork and tiled floors attest to the era of frugality.
This picture shows the Douglas County Courthouse in 1876.
Historical information adapted from "The First 100 Years... The Minnesota State Bar Association."
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