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Towner County Courthouse

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1898, Andrew J. O’Shea. 315 2nd St.

The Towner County Courthouse is the best-preserved Queen Anne courthouse in North Dakota. The building retains a complex roofline despite removal of the upper portion of its entrance tower. Wheat-colored brick walls rise from a cut-stone battered foundation. The facade is composed of three sections, with gabled roofs that converge on the major hipped roof. Originally a bell tower rose above the entrance. The windows assume a variety of shapes and rhythms.

Towner County farm families suffered greatly during the Great Depression and the Cando courthouse came to be seen as the embodiment of those troubles. Though generally regarded as a conservative, development-oriented community, there was a strong undercurrent of political agitation reflected in activities of the Industrial Workers of the World (IWW, and commonly known as the “Wobblies”) organization, the Nonpartisan League, and the Farm Holiday Association, the last of which organized in the 1930s to stop sheriff’s sales at the courthouse door.

Writing Credits

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


What's Nearby


Steve C. Martens and Ronald H. L. M. Ramsay, "Towner County Courthouse", [Cando, 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, 117-118.

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