Mille Lacs County Courthouse History

For many years in the beginning of the county's existence, court was held at Sauk Rapids, the original county seat of Benton County.  In 1888, Mille Lacs County built its own courthouse at a cost of $10,000.  It was built in Princeton, the county seat at the time.

In 1922, Milaca, much smaller than Princeton but centrally located in the county, asked for a vote to relocate the county seat.  Eventually Milaca became the county seat and built a new courthouse in 1923.

The Renaissance Revival building cost $150,000.  It was designed by Croft & Boerner and built by the J.A. McDonald Construction Co., both of Minneapolis.  Smooth Bedford limestone laid in regular ashlar over reinforced concrete makes up the exterior.  The only projection from the rectangle abuilding is a two-story entrance pavilion with turns on its top corners and a carved swag and wreath on the parapet above.  A tall, central, multi-paneled window with classic engaged piers and entablature is set off by a small balustraded balcony.

Inside there are black-banded terrazzo floors and prairie-school geometrics in the leaded glass of the skylight above an octagonal atrium.  Iron grillwork, in which the initials "ML" have been cast, covers the glass entry door.  The monogram is repeated in the decorative iron railing of the marble steps that rise from the front door to the first level and continue, reversing their angle to the second floor.  Red wood paneling and other woodwork is used throughout the building.

The present appearance of the building is largely due to a 1978 renovation completed by Johnson and Forberg Associates of Minneapolis.  Roger Johnson's father worked as a carpenter on the original building.

The building was placed on the National Register of Historic Place in 1977.

This picture shows Mille Lacs County's original courthouse in 1909.  It was built in Princeton, the original county seat, and remained there until it was torn down in 1945.

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

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