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Grand Forks County Courthouse

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1913, Buechner and Orth. 124 S. 4th St.
  • (Photograph by Steve C. Martens)

This impressive courthouse is one of the best examples of Beaux-Arts design in North Dakota. The white limestone exterior is elaborately embellished with Corinthian columns, garlands on the pilasters, and a central cartouche at the cornice line. The rotunda is pierced with clerestory windows and capped by bronze ornamentation. An interior renovation in 2003–2004 preserved the terrazzo flooring and ornamental sculpted plasterwork. Original trim molding is metal painted to simulate wood. The building is impressively situated on a grand public square. Subsequently, some county departments relocated to the County Office Building (1999, Schoen Associates) at 151 S. 4th Street across the street to the northeast from the courthouse. The office building affords a revealing comparison of a late-twentieth-century perception of administrative governance, with its purely utilitarian planar walls and large-scale windows of reflective glass, a far cry from the grand Beaux-Arts affirmation of civic purpose.

Writing Credits

Steve C. Martens and Ronald H. L. M. Ramsay


What's Nearby


Steve C. Martens and Ronald H. L. M. Ramsay, "Grand Forks County Courthouse", [Grand Forks, North Dakota], SAH Archipedia, eds. Gabrielle Esperdy and Karen Kingsley, Charlottesville: UVaP, 2012—,

Print Source

Cover: Buildings of North Dakota

Buildings of North Dakota, Steve C. Martens and Ronald H. L. M. Ramsay. Charlottesville: University of Virginia Press, 2015, 74-74.

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