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Iron County Courthouse
Marian M. Ohman
Department of Community Development
Organized: Feb. 17, 1857
Named after: In recognition of its iron mines
County seat: Ironton
Iron County has had only one courthouse. Ironton was chosen as the county seat in 1857. David Carson and Hiram N. Tong, businessmen in the area, owned the site of Ironton and had laid out the town. They donated alternate town lots to the county, and money from the sale of these lots provided more than $10,000 of the $14,000 cost of the courthouse.
Henry H. Wright furnished the plan for the building and was awarded $25. The court granted the building contract to George S. Evans and William F. Mitchell. The cornerstone ceremony took place on July 4, 1858. Construction was completed and the building ready for occupancy in October 1860 (Figure 1).
Iron County Courthouse, 1858-. Architect: Henry H. Wright (Courtesy: State Historical Society of Missouri)
The red brick building trimmed with white stone originally measured about 50 by 65 feet. There were six rooms on the first floor, the courtroom on the second. Other Missouri courthouses by Wright include: Washington, 1849; Franklin, 1847; St. Francois, 1848.
In 1964 a three-story addition to the west extended the length of the courthouse to almost 110 feet. Architects of this $113,000 project were Hutchens and Frangkiser, Kansas City.
Howard Baer's painting of this courthouse, 1947, is in the Scruggs, Vandervoort, Barney collection at MU (Figure 2).
"Saturday, The County Court House, Ironton," painting by Howard Baer. (From: Scruggs, Vandervoort, Barney Collection, MU)
The courthouse is included in the National Register of Historic Places. The nomination form includes the Civil War history associated with this courthouse.
- Centennial, Iron County, Missouri, 1857-1957. Ironton: Iron County Centennial Association, 1957.
- Historical Summary of Iron County, Missouri. Ironton: Printed at the Register Job Office, 1876.
- History of Southeast Missouri. Chicago: Goodspeed Publishing Company, 1888.
- Iron County Brought Into Focus, 1857-1957. Ironton: Iron County Historical Society, 1957.
- "Historic Missouri Courthouses." Missouri Historical Review, volume 58 (July 1964) inside back cover.
- Goeldner, Paul K. "Temples of Justice: Nineteenth Century Courthouses in the Midwest and Texas." Ph.D. dissertation, Columbia University, 1970. National Register of Historic Places Inventory — Nomination Form. Available at State Historical Society of Missouri.
- (Ironton) Mountain Echo, [Feb. 20, 1980] Supplement "Iron County Courthouse."
- Work Projects Administration, Historical Records Survey, Missouri, 1935-1942, Iron County. Located in Joint Collection: MU, Western Historical Manuscript Collection-Columbia and State Historical Society of Missouri Manuscripts.
UED6046, new May 1981