Fourth of July marks county courthouse's centennial

This Fourth of July marks the 100th year since Jackson County’s current Courthouse first opened to the public.

A special grand opening celebration, featuring food, music, games and fireworks shot off the roof of the new building was held on Independence Day in 1921. 

The special event was advertised in The Holton Recorder as “an excellent opportunity for every man, woman and child in the county to view this magnificent structure.”

The current Courthouse on the Holton Square is the third Courthouse in the county’s history.

The first Courthouse in the county was a frame building on Pennsylvania Avenue on the east side of the Square that was built for $1,000 in 1850.

That Courthouse was replaced by a two-story brick Courthouse in the center of Holton (current courtyard) that was completed in 1870.

In Sept. 21, 1918, a resolution was passed by the board of county commissioners, which included Philip Fricker, J.P. Duffy and F.W. Hall, calling for a public vote to determine whether a new Courthouse should be erected. The public was also asked whether the new building should be paid for with a bond issue or a direct tax levy. 

At that time, the building was expected to cost less than $100,000.

During the general election in 1918, the Courthouse proposition passed by less than 100 votes with 2,341 ‘yes’ votes to 2,247 ‘no’ votes. Voters also decided to pay for the new building with a direct tax levy. 

The following July, the commissioners employed T.W. Williamson & Co. of Topeka as the Courthouse architects and a contract was signed a month later with James Cuthbert & Sons of Topeka to serve as contractors for more than $100,000.

On Oct. 1, 1919, county officials moved out of the brick Courthouse, which was then demolished. Then construction began for the new four-story structure.

For more on this story, log in to your account and select the June 30, 2021 edition under “E-Editions.”

The Holton Recorder

109 W. Fourth St.
Holton, KS 66436
Phone: 785-364-3141

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