The Moody County Courthouse sits at the center of a city block, surrounded by lawn and trees, just south of the commercial downtown in Flandreau. The building faces north to East Pipestone Avenue.
Flandreau became the county seat in 1881. The first courthouse, a two-story, wood-framed building, was erected at the corner of Prairie Street and Second Avenue. As the population and economy of Moody County grew steadily in the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries, county commissioners decided to erect a new courthouse. In 1913, voters authorized construction, which began the following year and was completed in September 1915. The earlier building became a Masonic Temple after the new courthouse opened.
The courthouse was designed by Sioux Falls architect Joseph A. Schwarz and was built by O.H. Olson of Stillwater, Minnesota. The three-story building sits on a raised basement foundation and has a flat roof hidden behind the parapet edge. The exterior walls are brick clad in Bedford (Indiana) limestone. The basement level has a rusticated appearance while the upper stories are smooth stone. As is typical of Beaux-Arts architecture, the building exhibits a range of classical elements. The main facade is dominated by a portico in antis; the eight, two-story fluted Doric columns rest on a rusticated podium and support a massive entablature, with a decorated frieze and cornice. Windows are located behind the columns; additional windows are symmetrically placed around the building. Bronze letters, spelling out the county name, are located on the east end of the frieze; the date of construction is spelled out on the west end. The classicism continues on the interior, which is laid out in a cruciform plan with a central rotunda. Interior finishes include marble, terrazzo, ornamental wrought iron, and various application of plaster ornamentation. The courtroom contains four large murals painted by Axel E. Soderberg of O.J. Oyen Studios in LaCrosse, Wisconsin.
The Moody County Courthouse still retains its original function and a significant degree of its original design, though most of the original windows and doors have been replaced.
Hufstetler, Mark and Lon Johnson. “Moody County Courthouse,” Moody County, South Dakota. National Register of Historic Places Registration Form, 1993. National Park Service, U.S. Department of the Interior, Washington, D.C.
Rusch, Arthur L. County Capitols: The Courthouses of South Dakota. Pierre: South Dakota Historical Society Press, 2014.