From the early 1870s to 1911, Carlton County used a frame building as its courthouse in Thomson, a city located on the new railroad line between Duluth and St. Paul. In 1880, a second jail was built at Northern Pacific Juntion and the city of Cloquet eventually became the county seat. Ten years later, residents of Northern Pacific Junction paid for a courthouse and changed the name of their town to Carlton.
The 1890 courthouse was a narrow, two-story brick building with a high-pitched single gable roof. The arched entry on the narrow end was flanked on its left by a round roof-high tower and on the right by a short turret, bulging from the wall.
The current courthouse (pictured above), took nearly two years to build and was completed in 1924. The three-story classic Second Renaissance Revival building is built with cream-colored brick and stone. Clyde W. Kelly designed the building and the Niebuhr Co. of Minneapolis built it. Materials, including furniture and fixtures, cost $259,003, but by the time the bonds were retired in 1943, the cost had increased to $301,350.
The Clerk's Office at the Carlton County Courthouse, as photographed in 1920.