The first term of court was held in Holmes Hall in September 1853. Because fewer than 50 people qualified as grand jurors in the county, the court settled for 24 and convened court with 32 petit jurors instead of 72. In 1856, rooms were rented for the court's use in a new brick store for $50.
In 1857, the county issued $10,000 in bonds to build a courthouse. But it was still incomplete in 1859 when the county ran out of money. When Jordan took this opportunity to bid for the county seat, private citizens in Shakopee raised enough money to finish the courthouse. Additions and remodelings were completed in 1864, 1867, and 1873. Even so, Jordan sought the county seat again in 1873 but lost by 92 votes.
By 1927, the county board agreed that a new courthouse was needed, but Shakopee business interests feared another county seat fight. Several citizens hired an architect who reported that the old building was sound and submitted a $65,000 plan to repair and remodel it. The group offered to pay up to $15,000 of the expenses. The board accepted, but a fight for the county seat took place anyway.
This building still stands on one side of courthouse square. Its 1856 beginning is invisible within the flat-topped, two-story brick of its final modernization. The 1965 public safety buidling and the large modern courthouse building dedicated in 1976 completely overshadow it.
Patch, Erickson, Madson, Watten, Inc. of Minneapolis built the 1976 courthouse. The building, a new emergency center, and a minor remodeling of the old courthouse cost about $2.7 million The building is built of Alabama limestone veneer on concrete block that is set off by black pre-cast concrete spandrels beneath the windows. The lower wall is charcoal granite. Solar gray, insulated-glass recessed windows in two horizontal bands are separated by structural fins, which give the effect of vertical shutters.
A new Justice Center, designed by WOLD Architect & Engineering, was added in 1998.
The Scott County Courthouse, circa 1950.
Historical information adapted from "The First 100 Years... The Minnesota State Bar Association."
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