Koochiching County Courthouse History

Though the cornerstone was laid July 13, 1909, the courthouse at International Falls was built in 1910.  C.E. Bell of 

Minneapolis designed the building and O.J.Oyen of LaCrosse, WI, built it at a cost of $41,700 plus plumbing and heating.  The building is shown above in a 1929 photograph.

The first of the Beaux Arts style building's three stories is built of rusticated limestone.  The second and third stories are red brick with stone belt courses marking their divisions.  The projecting cornice is embellished with modillions and a brick parapet above is topped with stone coping.  The central domed cupola has four identical sides with colonnades and dormers.

On the north, the main entry enters one of three pavilions and rises two stories.  It is flanked by pilasters with doric capitals supporting a segmental arched pediment.  The south side of the building has a single central pavilion with a palladian window in the third story.

Inside, simple stenciling marks the plaster walls and brass fixtures are installed at the stairway.  The central skylight window in the dome has been sealed.  The old courtroom and offices are on the third floor.  A circular mezzanine in the center of that floor complements the muraled dome above.   The murals recognize the county's heritage -- the Itaska, a stern-wheel steamer, a logging sleigh, the falls before the dam was built, and the first white settler, Alexander Baker.  E. Sonderberg of LaCrosse, WI, painted the murals at a cost of $2,500.

In 1975-76, a two-story addition was built to the east.  It followed the original design and was built with matching stone and brick.  The $700,000 project was partially paid for by the federal government and was built to house a new courtroom and offices.  A similar wing was added on the west in 1979 for jail and law enforcement space.

The courthouse was placed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1977.

This picture shows the laying of the courthouse's cornerstone in 1909.

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

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