Kittson County Courthouse History

The first court proceedings in Kittson County were held in 1881 in Hotel Hallock, which was offered for use by the county without charge.  However, a bill for four dollars was submitted for use of a jury room and the breaking of window lights.  The first case involved the theft of a yoke of oxen for which the defendant was sentenced to three years in the state prison.  The term of court was completed in 2.5 days, and the court and attorneys spent the rest of the last day fishing while they waited for a southbound train.

Other locations in Hallock were rented as a courthouse until a formal courthouse was completed in 1896 at a cost of $20,000.  The three-story brick building was built on a high battered-stone basement and included a Romanesque tower. Large chimneys rose on each side above the medieval corbelled brick of the cornice.  The building was torn down when the new courthouse was completed 70 years later in 1965.

The current courthouse is a low horizontal one-story building that becomes two as the land slopes downward.  Panels of brick stripe the building.  Small double-hung windows are set into the strips between the brick.  The entrance is recessed and a flat slab roof tops the building.  A federal grant provided $400,000 of the $839,000 cost of the building, designed by Wells Denbrook of Grand Forks, ND.

Historical information adapted from "The First 100 Years... The Minnesota State Bar Association."

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