Missouri Courthouses
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Editor’s note
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Marian M. Ohman
Department of Community Development

LincolnCounty: Lincoln
Organized: Dec. 14, 1818
Named after: Gen. Benjamin Lincoln of Massachusetts
County seat: Troy

Monroe was the first county seat of Lincoln County. But since Monroe was in the southeast corner of the county, it proved to be an inconvenient site. The last court session held there was in November 1822. Next, commissioners chose Alexandria, where the court convened in February 1823 in the only home there, a hewn-log residence.

Goodspeed's 1888 History of Lincoln County states that a small frame courthouse was built at Alexandria. Sales of town lots in April and May 1822 made available $887.25 for construction of a courthouse and jail. Apparently the court paid $448.50 for the courthouse in the same year.

Citizens petitioned for the next move of the county seat to Troy, and voters approved the change. Courts started meeting in Troy in February 1829.

In May 1829 the court ordered sealed proposals for construction of a new courthouse in Troy; they chose a 40-foot-square, two-story, brick building. David Bailey received the bid for contracting at a cost of $1,500. Completed in 1830, the county used the courthouse until 1869, when the building was auctioned off for $410 and razed in September to make way for the next courthouse.

The present courthouse in Lincoln County was built in 1870; Gustave Bachmann was the architect (Figure 1). In June 1869 Edwards and Griffith, contractors, received the bid for the 75-by-80-foot, brick building with "T" plan. Construction was complete Nov. 10, 1870, for about $27,500.

Figure 1
Lincoln County Courthouse, 1869-. Architect: Gustave Bachmann (Courtesy: State Historical Society of Missouri)

The front was 70 feet wide with a 30-foot portico, featuring six fluted Corinthian columns. The rear wing was about 80 feet long, the height to the top of the cupola, about 82 feet. Offices are on the first floor; double stairways lead to the second story. The 36-by-48-foot courtroom is at the back of the second story.

Several additions have been made since. A two-story addition costing about $8,000 was made in the 1930s. Judges approved plans for the most recent addition, estimated to cost $150,000, in June 1974; Henze and Kuda Associates designed and approved the project.

Two other courthouses similar to this were built earlier in the 19th century. Bachmann was responsible for one in Montgomery County, 1865; the other, in Randolph County, 1858, was the work of Henry Austin. Only Lincoln County's survives.


  • History of Lincoln County, Missouri. Chicago: The Goodspeed Publishing Company, 1888.
  • Mudd, Joseph A. "History of Lincoln County, Missouri." An Illustrated Historical Atlas of Lincoln County, Missouri. Philadelphia: Edwards Brothers of Missouri, 1878.
  • Elsberry Democrat, June 27, 1974.
  • St. Louis Globe Democrat, July 26, 1925.
  • Troy Free Press, Dec. 29, 1972.
  • (Troy) Lincoln County Herald, June 3, July 15, 22, Sept. 2, 1869.
Manuscript collections
  • Work Projects Administration, Historical Records Survey, Missouri, 1935-1942. Lincoln County. Located in Joint Collection: MU, Western Historical Manuscript Collection-Columbia and State Historical Society of Missouri Manuscripts.
  • Standard Atlas of Lincoln County. Chicago: George A. Ogle and Company, 1899.
Publication No. UED6056