In 1856, a two-story, 40-foot building was built as the Monticello Academy in the then county seat of Monticello. Space was rented by the county for use as a courthouse and county offices.
Buffalo tried to obtain the title of county seat in 1862 and again five years later. The second time, the offer of a courthouse rent-free for five years apparently convinced voters to approve the change. At the end of the rent-free period, the county bought the two story, 24 by 36 foot frame building called the Samsell house for $900.
Five years later, in 1878, Wright County built a two-story square brick courthouse with mansard roof and elaborate domed tower in the current French Second Empire style. Bisbee Bardwell of Minneapolis designed it and it was built at a cost of $27,634. However, the high interest of the bonds brought the grand total to $105,000.
The first section of the current courthouse was completed in June 1959. It has a low, flat curtain-wall of steel and glass on a stone veneered foundation. Patch and Erickson of Minneapolis designed the building that was built by the Geo. Madsen Construction Co. at a cost of $655,000. Three other buildings have followed in an effort to keep pace with the growing county population. In 1971, a $797,599 addition was built, in 1974, a $700,000 addition, and in 1980, a four-story, brown, steel-paneled rectangular block was built for $1.9 million to house social services offices.
Historical information adapted from "The First 100 Years... The Minnesota State Bar Association."
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