(KNSI) – Stearns County laid the foundation for the historic courthouse 100 years ago.

Construction started on the courthouse in St. Cloud in 1921, and the building was completed in 1922.

According to the Stearns History Museum, the county needed a new government center because they outgrew the original courthouse built-in 1865. Starting in the 1910s and 1920s, the county’s population grow by more than 15,000.

Courtesy of the Stearns History Museum

Charles Skooglun, out of St. Paul, was hired to build the courthouse. Architects Toltz, King, and Day of St. Paul designed the building in the Beaux-Arts style.

Stearns History Museum Archivist Steve Penick says the courthouse used local granite.

“There’s some great artwork, there’s some local granite that was used in the building, from Cold Spring and Rockville area. So those big columns are from Cold Spring area. And they’re 36 feet tall. About a four and a half feet wide. Each of the six weighs 50 tons.”

The Stearns County Courthouse was placed on the National Registry of Historic Places in 1982 for its significant architecture and a prominent symbol of Stearns County government.

“It incorporates the building as a kind of grand building. When you walk up the steps, this is a place where important decisions are made where local residents can get their licenses and that kind of stuff. And so it’s just it’s just a grand building.”

Courtesy of the Stearns History Museum

The building is 109 feet tall from the base to the top of the dome. The dome is two domes in one with a hollow space between them that acts as early air conditioning.

The large courthouse clock on top of the dome operated 17 other clocks in the building.

The ceremonial courtroom was famously used in the 1992 film Mighty Ducks.

A jail built with the courthouse in 1922 was also on the National Historic Registration but was demolished in 1987.

The courthouse was built for $850,000, which’s equivalent to about $11.2 million today.

Courtesy of the Stearns History Museum


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